Portoroz, 8 June 2004 Press release

"Stability Pact is an indispensable instrument of regional cooperation"


Ferrero-Waldner pays tribute to dedicated work of Special Coordinator Erhard Busek

Portoroz, 8 June 2004 - In her address at the commemorative event to mark the five-year anniversary of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe in Portoroz, Slovenia, Minister for Foreign Affairs Benita Ferrero-Waldner highlighted Erhard Busek's services to both the Stability Pact and the region: "I should like to thank Erhard Busek for his dedicated work as Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact. His unique knowledge of the region, his talent for forging countless contacts and his stamina are the foundations for the Stability Pact's successful and solution-oriented working approach."

Ferrero-Waldner described the Stability Pact as an indispensable instrument of regional cooperation. "Five years ago the task seemed an immense one, and although there is still much to be done, there is no doubt about the importance and the success of the Stability Pact. Whereas the focus in the early days was on stabilisation, democratisation and reconstruction, the Pact's principal task today consists in the establishment of stable institutions and in economic development", said the Foreign Minister.

In this context Federal Minister Ferrero-Waldner also underlined the importance of regional cooperation: "Only through cooperation across the national borders can we master the challenges of our times, such as the threats to our security and our environment, the transit problem and the issue of immigration." "Regional cooperation is visible and tangible for the people in the region", continued the Foreign Minister: "That is why I initiated Austria's Regional Partnership with her Central European neighbours, and that is also why I support the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe."

The Minister for Foreign Affairs took the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Stability Pact to express five wishes for the future. In Ferrero-Waldner's words: "I hope that the Stability Pact will continue to make a contribution to overcoming nationalism and intolerance; that more countries will follow Austria's example and invest in South Eastern Europe, because investments promote stability; that we will succeed in creating an environment conducive to business and investment in the region; that we will be able - through education and training - to give the younger generation in particular a perspective for the future; and finally, I hope that the Stability Pact - thanks to its own success - will one day be history."