Vienna, 27 February 2003 Press release

Ferrero-Waldner: "Austria is intensifying its neighbourly relations at the cultural level with EU candidate country Romania"


Opening of the Austria Library in Cluj on 4 March

Vienna, 27 February 2002 - The network of "Österreich-Bibliotheken" (Austria Libraries) built up since 1989 will be further extended on 4 March by the opening of the 50th Austria Library in the Romanian town of Cluj (in German: Klausenburg). One of the core elements of the New Concept for International Cultural Policy, presented by Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner back in 2001, is the strengthening of active foreign policy in cultural matters in Central and Eastern Europe which is, inter alia,to be realised by the setting up Austria Libraries in these countries.

To mark the forthcoming opening Ferrero-Waldner stressed that "the Austria Libraries in Central and Eastern Europe are a model of the successful cultural activities for which Austria is the envy of many Western European countries. Together with the Austrian Cultural Fora, the Libraries are playing an increasingly important role in establishing contacts at both the scientific and cultural levels. By setting up the Austria Library in Cluj we are doing justice to the town's importance as a major cultural and scientific centre in Transylvania on the one hand, while permanently strengthening the cultural relations to the EU enlargement candidate Romania on the other".

In setting up and equipping the Cluj Austria Library a novel approach of cooperation between institutional partners, sponsors and private partners has been taken. Until now Austria Libraries have been founded and supported in cooperation with institutions from the host countries using funds provided by the Austrian Foreign Ministry. In the case of the Cluj Library the operators succeeded in actively involving the Federal Province of Upper Austria, which has made available substantial funds for the foundation, setting up and operation of the Library and has additionally provided some of the books. Moreover, Province Governor Pühringer will act as patron of the opening ceremony. The Universities of Vienna and Graz as well as numerous other institutions and private individuals have contributed to equipping the Austria Library with books.

Representing the Foreign Minister, the head of the Cultural Policy Division of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Emil Brix, will open the Library together with Professor Andrei Marga, former Romanian Minister of Education and current Rector of the Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj, in the presence of Ambassador Christian Zeileissen, the Prefect of the Vasile Soporan region, and a representative of the Austrian Rectors' Conference.

A number of Austrian cultural events are being organised in connection with the opening ceremony. On the day of the opening itself, Adam Zielinski will read "Galizische und Wiener Geschichten" (Galician and Viennese Stories), and as part of the "Österreich-Ring-Vorlesungen" (Austria-Ring-Lectures) Roland Girtler from the University of Vienna will speak about the "Landler", an Upper Austrian minority living in Transylvania. The touring exhibition "Wiener Architektur 1900" (Viennese Architecture 1900) will be shown in the Banffy Palace, one of the most beautiful buildings in Cluj. The Austrian pianist Albert Sassmann will play pieces by Brahms, Toch and Takacs.

For further information, please contact:
Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Cultural Public Relations Section
Mr. Andreas Pawlitschek
Tel: (+43-1) 531153564
Fax:(+43-1) 536663564