|“The relations between Slovenia and Austria have never been so good before. At the same time the countries are no more divided by official borders, and further connected by the common European currency,” stressed the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk, and the President of the Republic of Austria, Dr Heinz Fischer, after their meeting in Vienna. As the President of Slovenia went to explain in detail, there are no problems in bilateral relations, but some debts remain from the times of the conclusion of the Austrian State Agreement 53 years ago. According to President Dr Danilo Türk, the field of bilingual topographic signs “accumulated a considerable political debt. And when such political debt is incurred, there is interest, too – in this case the interest of growing political astonishment with the fact that this problem could not be solved.” |
As the President of Slovenia added at his first official visit to the Republic of Austria, this problem can be solved. He sees Austrian authorities as partners who can contribute most to the resolution of this issue. “I believe that the positive forces of our common European future are stronger than the fears of the past,” stressed Austrian President Fischer in front of numerous media representatives gathered in the presidential palace, and expressed his expectations that a good common solution in accordance with the Austrian Constitution could be found regarding the issue of bilingual signs in the Austrian region of Carinthia.
President Dr Danilo Türk explained that he had already met with the representatives of Slovenian minorities in the neighbouring countries during the short term of his office, and proposed that a potential new form of cooperation, such as umbrella organisation of the Slovenian minority, might increase the efficiency of efforts for cultural and general development of the members of the minority in Carinthia and the region as a whole. “The new spirit between Slovenia and Austria and the new European context in which we are placed should be utilised for the optimal development,” added the President of Slovenia.
The presidents agreed that the development of economic relations is very good and intense, for the exchange of goods increased by as much as 25 percent only last year.
The President of Austria thanked Slovenia for the important and responsible work carried out by Slovenia as the presiding country of the European Union. Other topics of their today's conversation were issues of ecology and energy, where the President of Slovenia pointed out that the ambitious goals set by the European Union in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions must be achieved. According to him, EU must actually assume the leading role in this field in the global context.
In addition, President Türk presented to his Austrian counterpart the details of his visit to South America, where he travelled last week. In his words the European Union is not only the South America’s role model in terms of institutional development and experience, but also its partner.
The central topic of the meeting of the President of the Republic of Slovenia with the Chancellor Dr Alfred Gusenbauer was the Slovenian Presidency to the European Union.
In the afternoon, the President of Slovenia also met with the president of the Austrian Parliament, Barbara Prammer, and the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei. The latter meeting focused on the issue of Iran, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and peaceful use of nuclear energy.