Vienna, 20 June 2013 – EU enlargement and developments in the Western Balkans were the focus of discussions held today in the meeting of Irish Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton and Austrian State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka.
“Following a suggestion from Ireland the two countries will work together more closely in future in the issue of the EU rapprochement process for the Western Balkans”. Both Ireland and Austria hope that the EU summit meeting next week will bring a decisive turning point in the accession perspectives of Serbia and also for an approach to Kosovo. “Both of these states have shown that they are serious about implementing the agreements on the normalisation of bilateral relations and this must also be honoured by the EU”, the State Secretary said. “Austria and Ireland already worked together very closely on Western Balkan issues during the Irish EU Presidency; Ireland was very interested in the Austrian expertise in this region. We intend to develop this cooperation further over the next few months”.
A further issue was preparation for the European Council session that will be held next week and the planned fight against youth unemployment. “We cannot allow a lost generation in Europe”, State Secretary Lopatka said. Austria has an exemplary position in the EU with its low unemployment rates and its dual training system for young people at the start of their professional lives, a system which is being adopted as an example by ever more EU member states. An ambitious programme of measures for counteracting youth unemployment must now be implemented speedily, which is the course planned by the EU, but this must also be done above all in the member states themselves. An essential issue for Austria in this process is to support those companies that create jobs”, Lopatka said.
Contact:Federal Ministry forEuropean and International AffairsPress DepartmentTel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3320Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at