Our safety and security is directly related to stability and peaceful development in our European neighbourhood. As demonstrated by the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the EU and its members need a clear neighbourhood policy. A policy, which provides our Eastern neighbours with the opportunity to participate in common solutions and saves them having to choose between Russia or the EU. Our neighbours should be given the opportunity to keep close ties with the EU while at the same time remaining on good terms with Russia. Sustainable safety and security in Europe can only be achieved in cooperation with Russia and not by working against Russia – and the same holds true vice versa: Russia too, can only ensure long-term safety and security by working with and not against Europe.
By taking over the Chairmanship of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) in 2017, we also assumed international responsibility for a safe and peaceful Europe. “Making Europe safer again” is thus the motto we chose for our OSCE Chairmanship. Together with the 57 OSCE participating states, spanning from Vancouver to Vladivostok, we aim to focus most of all on promoting de-radicalisation and counteracting extremism and terrorism.
Protection of EU external borders is indispensable for the safety and stability of Europe. At the same time we have to create greater prospects for the people in crisis regions and developing countries, so that we can contribute to them living in a self-sufficient manner in their own countries. By significantly increasing the funding for development cooperation as well as for the Foreign Disaster Relief Fund for humanitarian aid, along with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), we are contributing to strengthening on-the-ground aid.