Brüssel, 19 November 2013 Press release

Austria and the Czech Republic strengthen cultural cooperation

Brussels – On 18 November 2013, Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger and the Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Jan Kohout, signed two documents that are to further consolidate the friendly cooperation between the two countries in cultural matters. "The cooperation with our northern neighbours is very important to me, and I greatly value this step of deepening our cooperation in two very tangible areas", Spindelegger said.

The two foreign ministers signed a declaration on the immunity of cultural goods that are owned by other states and exhibited on own territory. The second document signed in Brussels is a memorandum on extending the work of the Austrian-Czech historians conference.

The declaration on immunity of cultural possessions will make cross-border exchange of cultural goods for exhibitions significantly easier, and both countries hope that many other states will follow and also sign the declaration.

Extending the term of the historians conference means this working group will now be able to dedicate its efforts to the project of writing a joint Austrian-Czech history. This work is to present the "decades-long intertwining of our two nations" and will describe the events in the 19th and 20th century and their historical background in such a way that it appeals to a wide range of readers and can also be used as teaching material in schools. Spindelegger: "This project could be yet another step towards properly dealing with the displacement and its historic context in continuing discussions in both the Czech Republic and Austria."

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