Vienna, 30 November 2009 Press release

Spindelegger: “Traditionally a close partner, despite geographical distance”

Foreign Minister meets with counterpart from New Zealand

Vienna, 30 November 2009 - "New Zealand is a key actor in the South Pacific region with strong European roots. Traditionally it has therefore been a close partner of the EU - despite the great geographical distance. We share a clear commitment to multilateralism and the UN, the protection of human rights and a sustainable environmental policy," stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger following talks with his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully in Vienna.

"This partnership should be further developed. Europe intends to show a stronger political and economic commitment to the South Pacific region in the future, thus contributing to greater stability and economic development in the region. The EU Treaty of Lisbon, which also puts the EU’s relations with third countries on a new legal footing, serves as a suitable basis for this," Spindelegger continued.

Bilateral relations between Austria and New Zealand are excellent. "In New Zealand, Austrian enterprises are the most important investors in the energy sector and also act as leading oil producers. But we are far from having fully exploited the economic, cultural and academic potential of our relations," concluded the Foreign Minister.

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