Saalfelden/Piesendorf , 3 April 2013 Press release

Lopatka: "Austria makes good use of the EU export market"

State Secretary Lopatka on DARUM EUROPA information tour in Salzburg

3 April 2013, Saalfelden/Piesendorf - State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka visited two companies on his DARUM EUROPA information tour today: Bilton in Saalfelden and Senoplast in Piesendorf where he discussed European topics with the companies' staff. "It is the small and medium-sized companies that secure jobs in Austria and throughout the European Union. They are the guarantors of competitiveness and the backbone of any sound economic development, and the EU knows and appreciates this", State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka said. EU funds in the amount of 13.8 million euros have gone to Salzburg to strengthen the competitiveness of its SMEs between 2007 and 2013. The funds were mainly used to support craft and trade businesses in their development activities. Salzburg has received more than 75 million euros from the European Regional Development Fund since 1995 and dedicated the funds to innovative business projects as well as cross-border transport and tourism projects.

The EU is the biggest economic power in the world today. It accounts for 7 percent of the world's population and 50 percent of global social security spending and generates 25 percent of worldwide economic output.

State Secretary Lopatka pointed out that Austria has for years had the lowest unemployment rate in Europe because it knows how to make excellent use of the large EU export market. Austria earns 6 out of every 10 euros from exports. 70% of Austrian exports go to other EU countries.

Another item in today's discussion about Europe was Cyprus. "The current situation in Cyprus makes many people feel insecure. But the situation in Cyprus can by no means be compared to Austria", Lopatka said. Cyprus is an absolute exception and its highly specific banking system could not be compared to that of any other EU country. Cyprus will need to raise nearly 6 billion euros to rescue its ailing banking sector. Small savers with less than 100,000 euros in the bank would be spared from consequences, Lopatka said. Cyprus will also receive 10 billion rescue funds from the EU and the International Monetary Fund. "Europe will continue to stand together as one and proceed in a well-coordinated manner. At the same time, Cyprus must comply with conditions and fulfil requirements in order to obtain support. The country must contribute its share - Europe's solidarity cannot be a one-way street", Lopatka continued.

The structure of the Austrian banking sector is entirely different from the Cypriot one and is solidly grounded. "With the bank rescue package, the Federal Government demonstrated that it will not leave Austrian savers out in the rain", the State Secretary said. The Austrian budget is solid and the course of reform would lead to achieving a zero deficit by 2016 he continued: "We can be proud that Austria is complying with the EU deficit provisions earlier than expected. The 2012 accounts show that we have embarked on the right path." In 2012, the overall deficit of federal, provincial and community level was 2.48 percent of the GNP and significantly better than expected in the budget. State Secretary Lopatka urged continuing the saving course while simultaneously launching initiatives for the labour market to keep unemployment as low as possible.


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