Vienna, 10 June 2013 Press release

Lopatka: "73% of Austrians appreciate freedom to travel within the EU"

Lopatka: "73% of Austrians appreciate freedom to travel within the EU"

Vienna, 10 June 2013 – "73% of Austrians appreciate the freedom to travel and the abolition of passport controls within the EU. They recognise the benefits of the Union especially in areas where they have gained positive personal experience. At Vienna Airport, thousands of passengers experience daily how travelling within the EU has become more convenient. We should talk more about these positive achievements and leave less room for negative headlines", the State Secretary said. An opinion poll carried out by GfK presented to the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs shows that Austrians welcome the freedom to travel, cheaper roaming fees, the common currency, peace and security as positive achievements of the EU.

"Despite the difficult economic situation, approval of the EU has remained stable. Some 60% of Austrians say that the benefits of EU membership outweigh the drawbacks. In my discussions with employees of Austrian companies, I am also confronted, however, with statements about problems, issues and challenges that the people associate with the EU. The most common point of criticism I hear especially with regard to the mode of operation, is that the EU is too complicated and that decisions are often difficult to understand: see the "olive oil" case.These problems occur when Europe encroaches on areas that are not – or should not be – its tasks.

"The people are afraid of increasing national debt, inflation, devaluation of the Euro and excessive tax burden. But the Euro is a stable and strong currency – and we need to communicate this fact much more clearly", Lopatka said. Austrians are very well aware, however, that the imminent economic challenges are better solved together within the EU. 88% are of the opinion that Europe needs to cooperate even more closely in the crisis and call for more powerful European leadership in economic policy matters. The State Secretary emphasised that Austria needs the EU to remain internationally competitive in comparison with the emerging BRICS states. "Only within the framework of the EU will we be able to perform strongly in the global competition with China, India and the USA. Our task is to get this message of our real strength across to our citizens in a much clearer form", the State Secretary said.

On his DARUM EUROPA information tour State Secretary Lopatka regularly tours companies throughout Austria. At Vienna Airport, Lopatka was joined in his discussion with the workforce about current EU issues by Airport CEO Günther Ofner, MoEP Heinz Becker, French Ambassador Stéphane Gompertz and German Ambassador Detlev Rünger.


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