Vienna, 15 November 2012 Press release

Lopatka: Concerted efforts for a strong Europe

Austrian State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka on the South Tyrol question in Rome

Vienna, 15 November 2012 – "Our bilateral relations have developed outstandingly well. On this basis we are today able to calmly discuss our positions on the issue of autonomy for South Tyrol", State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka said. "The autonomy of South Tyrol and the achievements connected with it enjoy international recognition. They have an exemplary effect and must thus not be recklessly put at risk even in times of crisis. Whenever the guaranteed rights of the South Tyrolese are questioned and their arguments do not find an appropriate hearing in Rome, they can be sure to count on the support of Austria."

State Secretary Lopatka represented this position in Rome when he met the Italian Minister for European Affairs Enzo Moavero Milanesi and Italian Foreign Ministry Secretary of State Marta Dassù. He also had talks with South Tyrolese SVP members of parliament and the Vatican Under-Secretary of State Monsignor Ettore Balestrero.

"The future of our nations is in a strengthened Europe. Italy and Austria both stand for a further intensification of the economic and currency union. Italy also advocates EU integration of all the countries in the Western Balkans", Lopatka said during his working visit in Rome today. "We are calling for a swift implementation of the reforms for the European financial sector, and for an equally swift implementation of the common European banking supervision regulation", the State Secretary said.

Despite the difficult framework conditions caused by the current debt crisis in Europe, trade between Austria and Italy has increased in the past year. "Italy remains Austria’s second most important trading partner after Germany", Lopatka said. "Around 220 subsidiaries of Austrian companies continue to have very good opportunities on the Italian market thanks to the quality of their products", the State Secretary said.

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