Austria's Ambassadors' Conference 2023 Under the title "Austria's Eyes and Ears in the World"

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: September 5, 2023; 20:48 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg opened this year's Foreign Ministry Ambassadors' Conference, which is taking place this week in Vienna. The week-long conference brings together the heads of Austrian embassies and permanent representations to deepen mutual exchange and intensify cooperation with their colleagues in Vienna.

A special highlight of the opening at the Austrian Ambassador conference was the video feed of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Gruber / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

During the opening of the conference, Foreign Minister Schallenberg emphasized the excellent work of Austrian diplomats, especially in crisis situations such as the forest fires in Rhodes or the floods in Slovenia. He thanked all staff members who made a valuable contribution in these difficult times.

A special highlight of the opening was the video feed of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. In their conversation, Foreign Minister Schallenberg and Foreign Minister Kuleba underscored the close relationship between Austria and Ukraine and Austria's unwavering solidarity in the face of Russian aggression.

In light of the current geopolitical uncertainties, Foreign Minister Schallenberg stressed that we are living in a time of change. However, he stressed that the last 18 months have shown that Austria is more resilient and flexible than thought. He expressed confidence in its ability to successfully meet the challenges ahead.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba thanked Austria for its support during the Russian war of aggression. He stressed that Austria had acted actively, compassionately and morally right by actively transforming its neutrality into support. He highlighted Austria's financial and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine since February 2022.

Foreign Minister Schallenberg also spoke about the EU's geopolitical influence on the world and emphasized Austria's commitment to a rules-based world order. This is of particular importance for the country's export economy and innovative strength. In this context, he highlighted the role of ambassadors as "Austria's eyes and ears in the world". They open doors for the domestic economy, represent Austria's interests abroad and thus contribute to securing prosperity and jobs in the country.

Another important theme of the conference is "tech diplomacy," as new technologies have an increasing impact on diplomacy. Cybercrime, disinformation campaigns, artificial intelligence, and technology competition among economic powers are influencing the daily work of diplomats. During a panel discussion, Austrian ambassadors discussed the challenges and opportunities of technology diplomacy. Throughout the year, the Foreign Ministry is in active exchange with representatives from business, science and research and actively accompanies regulatory processes in multilateral forums on topics such as cybercrime and artificial intelligence.

The event includes lectures as well as meetings with high-ranking members of the Austrian government, including the Federal President, the President of the National Council, the Federal Chancellor, and representatives of the domestic business community.

Austrian MFA