Vienna, 22 December 2005 Press release

Plassnik: "Fresh momentum for the relations between Austria and Hungary in the new Europe"


Vienna, 20 December 2005 - Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik participated in today’s first joint meeting of the Austrian and the Hungarian governments.

"The joint government meeting reflects the friendly and trustful relations between our two states, demonstrating how the dynamic new Europe is cooperating in practice," said Plassnik.

She also referred to the close cooperation with Hungary within the framework of the European Union, saying that in the enlarged Union cooperation at the regional level was as important as ever in order to be able to represent one’s country’s interests efficiently at the European level.

"The new Europe offers fascinating opportunities for states to cooperate regarding any plans and projects - ranging from the economic area and environmental protection to transport. This is no longer classic foreign policy but rather part of a "European domestic policy," continued the Foreign Minister.

As a concrete example of the Austrian-Hungarian cooperation, an agreement on cooperation between representations abroad was signed at today’s meeting. "This agreement focuses on services for our citizens, creating the basis for close cooperation in the diplomatic and consular fields. It is an important step in the provision of improved consular support to the citizens of our two countries, including in the event of natural catastrophes," said the Foreign Minister.

12 days before the beginning of Austria’s EU Presidency, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik referred to the common interest in the Western Balkans which unites Austria and Hungary: "Our two countries are committed to a clear European perspective for the countries of this region; it is an important incentive for the democratic forces in these states and a unifying element for the region’s population. The year 2006 will be of decisive importance for the Western Balkans, which will be a priority issue of our Presidency. I am glad that Hungary and Austria are pro-actively supporting the region’s rapprochement with European structures," concluded Plassnik.

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