Linz, 13 February 2013 – “In the European Union, we live in an area of peace and prosperity. Up until WWII, the European nations had confronted each other on the battlefield time and time again. Today, we are working out solutions together at the negotiating table, as shown by the Brussels summit in which the heads of state and government have hammered out the next EU budget for 2014-2020”, emphasised State Secretary Lopatka during his stopover in Upper Austria on the “DARUM EUROPA” information tour of the Foreign Ministry. From November 2012 until summer 2013, the State Secretary will be visiting companies in all Austrian federal provinces to answer any EU-related questions, provide information to employees and promote an open dialogue about Austria’s position in the EU.
“On the one hand, Europe must remain competitive; on the other hand, cutting down expenses is essential in every European country right now. It was important for Europe that the heads of state and government succeeded in reaching an agreement on the EU budget. Now we have a reasonable total available for the next seven years that reflects our efforts to cut down costs. For the first time ever, the EU budget was not increased. With this, the EU signals that it is also committed to economising, something that the member states are being asked to do on a permanent basis. With reference to Austria’s future payment contributions, the result is acceptable. And that is much better than no result at all”, Lopatka stated. “Although the rebate result means that will have to swallow a loss of 504 million Euros in total – a bitter pill. However, in the context of rural development, we were able to achieve a worthwhile result, which was also honoured by Jakob Auer, President of the Austrian Farmers’ Association.”
“What strikes me as particularly positive is that future spending in the EU budget has been increased. The research budget has been increased from 54.9 billion to 69.1 billion, the education budget from 9.1 billion to 13.1 billion, the infrastructure budget from 12.9 billion to 19.3 billion. Overall, future spending has been increased by 34% in real terms – an important step in the right direction”, said State Secretary Lopatka. Furthermore, 6 billion Euros have been set aside for the creation of a mechanism to combat youth unemployment.
“There is yet another aspect that we must not forget: the European social model with its values and way of life that is truly unique in the world, and this is to a large part due to the EU. It is our responsibility to maintain this model. In the United States, for instance, 23 million people are still without health insurance, “Obamacare” notwithstanding. This would be unthinkable in any European nation. I am convinced that, on the basis of factual information, we can succeed in bringing people closer to the EU. We all benefit from our EU membership: free travel, no customs checks or queues at the borders, no currency exchange and EU-wide consumer protection, as shown for instance by the roaming charges for mobile phones”, said State Secretary Lopatka.
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