Vienna, 15 December 2006 Press release

Culture as a driving force behind European integration


Culture event/Integration/Europe on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Austrian Libraries in Bulgaria and Romania

Vienna, 14 December 2006 - Together with the Bulgarian and Romanian embassies the Cultural Policy Section at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is holding a formal ceremony at Vienna’s Main Library today to mark the 15th anniversary of the establishment of Austria Libraries in Bulgaria and Romania. Under the auspices of Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik the formal ceremony is held with attendance of Bulgaria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Evgenia Koldanova and Romania’s Deputy Foreign Minister Valentin Naumescu.

"The enlargement of the European Union on 1 January 2007 with the accession of Bulgaria and Romania offers a welcome opportunity to draw attention to the cultural parallels and common interests in this region. With this enlargement the cultural world of the Danube region finally becomes part of the European project. In this process Austria will obtain new partners whose historical experience and strong national cultural traditions will strengthen the concept of Europe as a common cultural project," said the Head of the Cultural Policy Section, Ambassador Emil Brix.

At the event two leading intellectuals, Mirela Ivanova from Bulgaria and Dieter Schlesak from Romania will present their views on the contribution of their countries to the European Union and on the cultural dimension of accession.

Austria Libraries already exist in six cities in Bulgaria and Romania: The Austria Libraries in Sofia and Bucharest were established in 1991 and 1992, respectively. As part of its active foreign cultural policy, Austria has built a tight network of 51 Austria Libraries since 1989, mostly in central, eastern and south-eastern Europe which offer information and contacts with Austria and opportunities to participate in an exchange of information.

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Cultural Affairs PR Unit
Andreas Pawlitschek
Tel.: +43 (0) 501150 3564
Fax: +43 (0) 501159 3564