Vienna, 6 December 2005 Press release

Plassnik: “Close cooperation with Latvia also to continue during Austria’s EU Presidency”


Foreign Minister Plassnik meets with Latvian counterpart

Vienna, 6 December 2005 - Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik met with her Latvian counterpart Artis Pabriks for talks today.

Their talks focused on topical European policy issues, such as the Financial Perspective, the EU enlargement, the debate about the future of Europe and the European Neighbourhood Policy. Foreign Minister Plassnik informed her Latvian counterpart of the programme of Austria’s EU Presidency and the two Foreign Ministers also discussed bilateral themes.

"We hold regular talks with Latvia. We agree on many things and together represent the concerns of the smaller and medium-sized countries. One topic that is of interest to both our countries is the European Constitution. We worked together well in the Convent and we have both ratified the Constitution in Parliament," said the Foreign Minister.

"The discussion about the Financial Perspective is highly topical. We are currently fine-tuning our positions in preparation for the forthcoming negotiations," said Plassnik.

"The Balkans too were an important item on our agenda. We are following the work of the United Nations under the direction of Martti Ahtisaari with interest and commitment. Both Austrian and Latvian soldiers are contributing to stability and security in Kosovo," continued the Foreign Minister.

"Latvia has a good deal of expertise with regard to the neighbourhood policy with our eastern neighbours Russia and South Caucasus. This knowledge, which we value highly, is welcome in the European Union," added Plassnik.

"Bilateral relations with Latvia are very satisfactory. In the field of education in particular there is a lively exchange between our countries," said the Foreign Minister, referring to the 13 school partnerships and 16 cooperation projects in the vocational training field. "We also have close cultural links and the Austrian library in Riga is an important co-organiser of literary projects," said Plassnik. On the occasion of next year’s Sigmund Freud’s anniversary Austria and Latvia will jointly organise a Freud exhibition.

"I am very much looking forward to the New Year’s Concert in 2006 which will be conducted by Mariss Jansons, a Latvian," concluded the Foreign Minister.

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