Vienna, 21 October 2008 Press release

Modernisation and opening of the diplomatic service

Comment on interview by State Secretary Andreas Schieder in the Die Presse newspaper of 21 October 2008

Vienna, 21 October 2008 - The Ministry for European and International Affairs issues the following comment on today’s statement made in the Die Presse daily by State Secretary Andreas Schieder, who is responsible for the civil service:  

  • The Ministry for European and International Affairs has been a trendsetter of modernisation for many years. The paperless electronic file and ministry-wide electronic communication were introduced by the Ministry more than ten years ago, and subsequently adopted by the other administrative bodies in gradual steps.
  • Access to the diplomatic service is by no means narrow but is open to everybody who meets the requirements as regards aptitude and performance criteria. Admission to the Foreign Ministry - at all levels - is therefore governed by an objective anonymous selection procedure that sets an example for the entire civil service and meets international criteria. This procedure serves exclusively to maintain the high professionalism required in Austria’s diplomatic missions throughout the world.
  • Similar selection procedures are applied in other areas of the federal service, for instance with regard to army officers, but also in the diplomatic services of comparable countries. The EU itself also requires its staff to pass a qualifying examination, the so-called 'concours', which often entails hundreds of candidates applying for just a few jobs.
  • The junior staff of the Ministry for European and International Affairs undergoes intensive training programmes in order to equip them for the manifold requirements of the diplomatic service in an ever more difficult environment.
  • The aptitude test was introduced by Foreign Minister Bruno Kreisky to objectify admission and put a halt to political interventions.
  • According to public service law the concept of marriage is uniform for all civil servants in Austria and is also applied in this meaning by the Foreign Ministry. Any amendments in this respect will be welcomed by the Ministry and implemented without delay.

Federal Ministry for
European and international Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213