Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl invited the Austrian ambassadors to come together for the opening of the annual Ambassadors’ conference on 4 April. The conference, which lasts for several days, provides an opportunity to make plans for the coming working year and to discuss current concerns and future strategies.
The opening of the Ambassadors’ conference 2018 is available to view at YouTube.
Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl opened the ‘public part’ of the Ambassadors’ conference 2018. Federal President of Austria Alexander van der Bellen and retired Federal Minister Andrä Rupprechter, Special Representative to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Austria’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, were guests of honour and speakers at the opening ceremony. In line with the motto ‘A fresh start for Europe ’, the conference dealt primarily with the challenges and opportunities to shape change that Austria will encounter during its Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the latter half of 2018. During her speech, Karin Kneissl stressed that “responsible foreign policy should take broader geopolitical developments into account and involve fact-based decision making.” Federal President Alexander van der Bellen also used the opening ceremony of the Ambassadors’ conference to speak about current foreign policy challenges: “Dialogue, mediation and multilateralism have to be the order of the day.”
Afterwards, the guests at the public part of the conference had the opportunity to get to know the ambassadors who were present. ‘Meet the Ambassadors’ was set up some years ago to connect Austrian business leaders with ambassadors abroad. This year, around 300 guests availed themselves of this opportunity. The second and third days of the conference focused primarily on internal discussions. Günther Oettinger, EU Budget & Human Resources Commissioner, travelled to Linz to attend the Ambassadors’ conference. Following a bilateral working discussion with Federal Minister Karin Kneissl, he met with the ambassadors present for further discussions.