Vienna, 8 September 2005 - In the course of the preparations for the Austrian EU Presidency, State Secretary Hans Winkler met with the Dutch Secretary of State for European Affairs, Atzo Nicolai, at The Hague. "We would like to learn from the experience of the countries who held the Presidency before us", said Winkler, pointing out that special attention was being paid to the Dutch considerations aimed at re-strengthening the notion of Europe in the hearts of the citizens. "It is important to develop a strategy for the future of Europe that can be supported by the people", stressed Winkler.
In this connection the State Secretary also provided information on the initiative "Europe is listening" (see www.bmaa.gv.at or www.bka.gv.at), which is currently under way in Austria. "Using an active platform, the citizens are invited to participate in a constructive debate and express their ideas about the future of Europe", continued Winkler.
Subsequently, Winkler also met with Philippe Kirsch, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC). According to Kirsch, the ICC is now fully operational. The investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Congo and Uganda are progressing without delay. "An important step now is to bring the situation in Dafur (Sudan) before the ICC too", added Winkler.
Austria already ratified and implemented the Statute of the ICC in 2002. In his talk with Winkler, President Kirsch also paid tribute to the efforts of the European Union to speed up ratification by other states.