Vienna, 24 November 2005 - Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik met with her Bulgarian counterpart Ivailo Kalfin today for talks which focused on Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union. In addition, the Foreign Ministers discussed bilateral and regional topics. Plassnik also informed her counterpart of the priorities of Austria’s EU Presidency.
"Austria is undertaking all efforts to give Bulgaria practical assistance on her way to the European Union. In recent years, Bulgaria has undergone an impressive reform process. In its report published at the end of October, the European Commission noted important progress, particularly in the environmental field. Bulgaria has changed for the better in the economic field too, with strong economic growth, relatively low inflation and a decrease in unemployment," said Plassnik.
"Nevertheless, Bulgaria’s efforts must not cease. There is still a lot to be done in the fight against corruption and organised crime. We continue to support Bulgaria on her road to the European Union, as illustrated by a regional project of the Austrian Ministry of Justice aimed at development of the judiciary in the Western Balkans," continued Plassnik.
The Foreign Ministers also discussed regional topics of importance to both countries: "Our two countries are very interested in a rapprochement of the Western Balkan countries with European structures. During her Presidency, Austria will take a pro-active role in ensuring that this process of rapprochement is resolutely continued," said Plassnik.
"Austria’s bilateral relations with Bulgaria are excellent. There is close cooperation at EU level. South-Eastern Europe is an important neighbour of ours in both the economic and cultural areas. This is also demonstrated by the successful events organised by our Embassy in Sofia," concluded Plassnik.