Finland and Austria to initiate cooperation between Baltic Sea and Danube strategies
Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Strubb and Foreign Minister of Austria Michael Spindelegger had their first bilateral meeting as Foreign Ministers during Minister Spindelegger's visit to Finland on 28 April.
The Ministers discussed the European External Action Service, enlargement, EU-Russian relations and, in particular, the European Union strategies on the Baltic Sea and Danube. The international agenda included brief discussions on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. Minister Spindelegger expressed Austrian support for Finnish candidacy for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council in 2013-2014.
In the bilateral meeting Minister Stubb and Minister Spindelegger agreed on a Finnish-Austrian initiative for asking their ministerial colleagues to cooperate within the Baltic Sea strategy and the Danube strategy. “There are important regional strategies inside the EU. Because the European Union now has 27 member states, we are going to see more regional integration and regional cooperation,” said Minister Stubb. The basic idea of the cooperation initiative is to exchange views on various projects linked to environment, transport and energy.
“We don't want to have competing strategies. Instead, we want to see how we can work best on these issues,” said Stubb. The Ministers will invite the eight countries involved in the Baltic Sea strategy, the eight member states of the Danube Strategy and six other member states.
During his visit Foreign Minister Spindelegger met with President of the Republic Tarja Halonen and Minister of Education Henna Virkkunen. The Minister also visited a Finnish comprehensive school.