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Austria - International Political News

Kosovo to Build its Own Army: US and UK in Favour, Austria, EU and Nato Oppose

The Kosovar parliament decided against the strong advice of both the EU and NATO to set up official armed forces. Serbia's leadership cautions against a new war. Austria's Foreign Ministry warns and assesses the decision to form an own army as "not helpful".

December 14, 2018

Afghanistan - Reopening of Austrian Embassy in Kabul in Discussion

At about the same time as the drama about the 16-year-old girl killed by a 17-year-old Afghan in her childrens' room in Steyr took its course in Austria, H.E. Idrees Zaman Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan and Austria's Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl met to discuss the reopening of the Austrian Embassy in Kabul, visa issues and other issues of mutual interest.

December 14, 2018

Soros University Leaves Budapest in Favor of Vienna

In Hungary, the Central European University (CEU) has faced massive hostility. As a consequence, the location will be relocated to Vienna. Michael Ignatieff, the rector of CEU, announced this week in Budapest that the university is finally moving: "This is a dark day for freedom in Hungary, and it's a dark day for academic freedom." In Vienna, negotiations are still underway on a suitable building for interim use from 2019. By 2023, the university is to move permanently to the grounds of the Otto Wagner Hospital.

December 6, 2018

How to Eliminate Violence against Women?

In context with the UN-sponsored campaign "International Day for the elimination of violence against women", there are various initiatives against violence against women not only at the UN, but also in Brussels and Vienna. Federica Mogherini announced that the EU has decided to allocate an additional €5 million to support the projects of Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege. And the Austrian Foreign Ministry, together with the Austrian Integration Fund, is participating in the campaign "16 days against violence against women".

November 26, 2018

Sebastian Kurz: EU and Switzerland to Intensify Relations Further

Federal Chancellor Kurz held a working meeting with Swiss President Alain Berset in Bern. The meeting focused on, among other topics, an assessment of Brexit, the Western Balkans, the nuclear agreement with Iran, relations with Russia and the priorities of the Austrian EU Presidency.

November 22, 2018

Anti-Semitism Conference in Vienna - Austria to Win Israel's Favor

A high-ranking conference against antisemitism with the motto "Europe beyond Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism - Securing Jewish Life in Europe" took place in Vienna. Participants included Ariel Muzicant, Vice-President of the European Jewish Congress (EJC), Education Minister Heinz Faßmann, EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, EPP Group Leader Manfred Weber, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Anatoliyovych Klimkin and Chancellor Kurz. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had had to cancel his participation at short notice because of the government crisis in his home country. Likewise not a single official representative of the Austrian Freedom Party was present.

November 22, 2018

Russia on the World Stage - Andrej Kolesnikov and Nina Khrushcheva at the Kreisky Forum

Professor Nina Khrushcheva interviewed Russian journalist Andrej Kolesnikov about the current situation and prospects in Russia.

November 22, 2018

Foreign Minister's Liechtenstein Visit Strengthens Bilateral Relations

Karin Kneissl travelled to Vaduz for a working discussion with her counterpart from Liechtenstein, Aurelia Frick to discuss current developments such as the most recent status of the Brexit negotiations and the cooperation in multilateral matters.

November 22, 2018

Austrian Development Agency Receives More Funds from the Green Climate Fund

The ADA (Austrian Development Agency) reports that after a three-year process at the 21st board meeting of the Green Climate Fund in Manama, Bahrain, the accreditation of the ADA was completed on 20 October 2018.

November 12, 2018

80 Years of November Pogrom - Remembrance at the Site of the Former Leopoldstadt Temple, at Judenplatz near the Shoah Memorial and in Parliament

Austria commemorated the events 80 years ago. Austrian Shoah survivors from Israel received in Parliament at the Hofburg. President of the National Council Sobotka asked Austrian Shoah survivors for forgiveness. Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen already reminded the day before at a commemoration ceremony of the November pogroms at the Psychosocial Centre of the Vienna Israelite Community. On the commemoration day he laid a wreath at the Shoah memorial on Judenplatz.

November 9, 2018

Reception for Holocaust Survivors in the Austrian Parliament: "Never again!"

Rabbi Arthur Schneier from New York, speaking at the reception for Holocaust survivors in parliament, called for a common commitment to "Never again" and to live together in peace and mutual respect.

November 9, 2018

Russian Espionage Incident in the Austrian Armed Forces

A colonel of the Austrian Armed Forces is suspected of having worked for decades with a Russian intelligence service. Foreign Minister Kneissl quoted the Russian chargé d'affaires to the Foreign Ministry and cancelled her planned trip to Russia.

November 9, 2018

Western Balkans - No Reconciliation in Kosovo Conflict

Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz visited Serbia and Kosovo during a trip to the Western Balkans. Since the last clash between the two heads of state Vučić and Thaçi in September, the talks have been suspended there. The EU should continue to support the search for a solution to the Kosovo conflict.

November 7, 2018

The United States after the Midterms - What's next?

Shortly after the midterm elections, a panel discussion with prominent guests will take place at Vienna's International Institute for Peace (IIP), analysing the election results and discussing their significance.

November 5, 2018

UN Migration Pact: Federal President Warns of the Loss of Austria's Reputation

In response to Austria's planned withdrawal from the UN Migration Pact, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen has addressed warning words to the federal government. The Federal President defends the Migration Pact and wants to conduct talks with Chancellor Kurz and Foreign Minister Kneissl. Protests are also coming from across the country.

November 3, 2018

Setback for the UN - Austria Won't Sign Global Migration Pact

Austria will follow the US and Hungary in backing out of a United Nations pact on migration (Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration) over concerns that it will blur the line between illegal and legal migration.

October 31, 2018

What We Can Learn From War

The aim of a special exhibition on "war. tracing an evolution" at the Natural History Museum (NHM - Naturhistorischen Museums Wien) is to make the phenomenon of "war" tangible on the basis of historical evidence. The big questions "Does man learn from his history?", "What is aggression?", "Since when has war existed?" and "Is war inevitable because it is human?" are to be answered.

October 31, 2018

Japan-Austria Relations - Kurz Met Shinzo Abe

During the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Brussels, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, and Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met for bilateral talks. The meeting focused on the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Austria next year, the new tax convention between Japan and Austria, the Japan-European Union (EU) relations and the situation in North Korea.

October 30, 2018

Eurasian Economic Union vs. European Union - Perspectives and Limits

At Lansky, Ganzger + Partner, at the meeting room of the Austrian-Kazakh Society (ÖKG - Österreichisch-Kasachische Gesellschaft), a number of prominent participants met for a panel discussion to explore the relationship between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU, EEU), to which Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia belong, and the European Union (EU) entitled "The Eurasian Economic Union and the EU - Perspectives and Limits of a Partnership". The conference was hosted by the Research Centre for Eurasian Studies (EURAS), the Austrian-Kazakh Society (ÖKG - Österreichisch-Kasachische Gesellschaft) and the Austrian-Belarusian Society (ÖWG - Österreichisch-Weißrussische Gesellschaft).

October 30, 2018

Khashoggi Case: Austria Increases Pressure on Saudi Arabia

The Austrian Foreign Ministry is now having the legal status of the controversial King Abdullah Centre (KAICIID) reviewed. The Centre has been criticised by representatives of civil society who are concerned with Saudi Arabia's poor human-rights record in fears that the KAICIID would in fact be misused by founding member and chief financier Saudi Arabia as a bridge-head for spreading Wahhabism in Austria and Europe.

October 22, 2018

Ambassador Traina on Trade-War: "Donald Trump is Europe's Greatest Hope"

In an interview with the trend-magazine the US ambassador in Vienna, Trevor Traina, warns of the Chinese, and that the theft of intellectual property could also happen to Europe's key industries. Donald Trump's unpredictability is therefore "Europe's greatest hope" to avert such a scenario in time.

October 19, 2018

Kurz Met Bill Gates: "He is a Source of Inspiration"

Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met billionaire and Microsoft founder Bill Gates at the EU summit in Brussels. Gates was in Brussels this week to create a pilot fund that will invest €100 million in European companies working to stop climate change.

October 19, 2018

Kazakhstan and Austria Reinforce Reciprocal Extradition and Legal Assistance

During a visit to Vienna, Kazakh Attorney General Kairat Kozhamzharov was received by Josef Moser, Federal Minister for Reforms and Justice. A joint declaration was signed. The talks focused on Kazakhstan's multilateral efforts, current affairs, mutual extradition and mutual legal assistance with Kazakhstan.

October 19, 2018

The Western Balkans: Resolving Outstanding Issues between Belgrade and Pristina Prerequisite for Serbia's Accession to the EU

As international and local pressure mounts on Belgrade and Pristina to define their relations with an agreement on normalization, the official Austrian visit to the Republic of Serbia as part of an economic and cultural delegation headed by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen focused on bilateral economic relations, Serbia's EU perspective and the Belgrade-Priština Dialogue.

October 18, 2018

Vietnam to Strengthen Relations with Austria and the EU

The Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc pays a visit to Vienna in the run-up to the Brussels ASEM Summit between the EU and Asian states.

October 16, 2018

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Vienna

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen during a stopover in Vienna. Bilateral relations and the situation in the Middle East were discussed.

October 12, 2018

Criticism of the Treatment of Refugees - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sends Team to Vienna

Next week, experts from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will visit Vienna to gather an impression of the human rights situation. The new High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, had criticised Austria for not prioritising the return of migrants from Europe without ensuring that key international human rights obligations are met as a protective measure.

October 11, 2018

Enlargement Perspectives for the Western Balkans - The Role of Parliaments

During a panel discussion in the Austrian Parliament, the perspective of enlargement for the Western Balkans and, in this context, the role of parliaments were discussed. The future of the six candidate countries in the Western Balkans is within the EU. They need an honest perspective for this common future with the EU Member States. The EU must contribute to ensuring the stability of the democracies in these countries. The former President of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, attended the discussion.

October 11, 2018

Made in Vienna: Immigration to Europe - Safe, Orderly and Regular

Against the background of socio-economic developments and persisting economic imbalances the demand for migration will increase. Europe’s demand for skilled labour will grow and skills shortages will be felt more strongly in EU Member States. Non-European countries will need even greater support in creating economic opportunities for their young and growing populations. Both the EU and its partner countries have an interest in functioning policies that create regular channels for labour mobility, steer migration away from its irregular forms, and help put an end to the human tragedies that migration is currently associated with..

October 3, 2018

Key Border Control Strategies Identified at UNODC's Annual Law Enforcement Experts Meeting

A working document on informal standards for border management and control was drafted and shared with participants at UNODC's annual Law Enforcement Advisors Meeting (LEA), held recently in Vienna. The annual meeting allowed for the exchange of best practices within UNODC and with partners.

October 2, 2018

Israel - Austria Relations: Lifting of Sanctions Against Kneissl is Nearing

According to information in the daily newspapers "Die Presse" and "Der Standard" on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Israel plans to lift its ban on contacts with Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl. Netanyahu ordered Israeli authorities in December 2017 to refrain from contacts with FPÖ ministers. Although Kneissl is not a party member, she has been nominated by the Austrian Freedom Party FPÖ. However, the official Israeli contact ban will continue to apply to FPÖ government members.

September 26, 2018

Macedonia's Name Dispute with Greece: Macedonians in Austria Cast Their Votes

The Macedonians will decide next Sunday on a bilateral agreement between Athens and Skopje, which can pave the way for the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia to NATO and EU membership. Greece, which claims the name Macedonia for its northern region, should be made satisfied with "Northern Macedonia". The Macedonian foreign voters can vote for the referendum at the diplomatic representations of their country (diplomatic representations in Austria see below). Voters will be asked "Do you support EU and NATO membership by accepting the agreement between Republic of Macedonia and Republic of Greece?"

September 26, 2018

Nuclear Controversy: Iran Seeking Austria's Support

Austria's EU Presidency, the future of the nuclear agreement and the desire to strengthen bilateral economic and cultural exchange were the focus of a visit by Iranian parliamentarians to the Austrian Parliament.

September 25, 2018

International Day of Peace 2018: Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") is observed around the world each year on 21 September. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. This year's Peace Day celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Join with people from the international community in Vienna by observing the International Day of Peace!

September 20, 2018

Intercultural Achievement Award Fosters Dialogue Between Cultures

The Austrian Foreign Ministry presented the Intercultural Achievement Award (IAA) for the fifth time. The award honours inspiring projects in civil society that foster intercultural dialogue and coexistence. This time the award for sustainability went to a project from Mozambique. Ambassador Jörg Wojahn, the Representation of the European Commission in Vienna, and Secretary General of the OSCE Thomas Greminger used the dialogue-based work of their own institutions as a starting point and awarded prizes to projects from Ukraine and Tunisia.

September 14, 2018

Timothy Snyder Opens 3rd Vienna Humanities Festival "Power & Powerlessness"

From 27 to 30 September, the third Vienna Humanities Festival will once again bring together leading figures from science, art and culture in an "urban salon" lasting several days. Around 40 events will be held themed "Power & Powerlessness" to discuss the major issues of our time.

September 14, 2018

Review of the State Visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Austria

After the visit in March 2016, which was cancelled at short notice, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was on a state visit to Vienna this week, accompanied by massive anti-Iran protests. The aim of the visit was a joint commitment to the Iran nuclear deal after the deal was approved in Vienna three years ago. The visit was overshadowed by a diplomatic case involving an employee of the Iranian embassy in Vienna, who had been arrested last weekend by the German judicial authorities on the basis of a European arrest warrant on suspicion of terrorism.

July 5, 2018

Nuclear Deal: Iranian President Rouhani Lobbies for Austria

The Federal Chancellery has now officially confirmed that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will come to Vienna on 4 July for an official visit. Of course, the visit is mainly about the nuclear deal. After the USA's exit, there is considerable pressure on Rouhani.

June 19, 2018

UNIDO: Achieving Sustainable Development Goals through Chemical Leasing

In 2004, with the support of the Government of Austria, UNIDO launched its Global Chemical Leasing Programme, promoting a business model that marks a paradigm shift from increasing the sales volume of chemicals toward a value-added approach. The fourth Global Chemical Leasing award ceremony will take place on 6 November 2018 in Vienna, Austria. It will be part of the Green Chemistry Conference 2018 within the Trio Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) programme, "Smart and Sustainable Europe", held during Austria's EU Presidency.

June 8, 2018

15th Anniversary of UN Convention Against Corruption: Tackling Corruption From the Top Down Essential

Corruption and complicity know no geographical boundaries, and it is society’s most vulnerable who get hurt the most, senior United Nations officials say, calling on Government leaders to fight the scourge, “from the top down”.

June 6, 2018

Vienna Energy Forum and the R20 Austrian World Summit 2018: Feedback of a Participant

At the Vienna Energy Forum and the R20 Austrian World Summit recently held in Vienna, Beatriz Mayor of IIASA - International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis also participated, who shares her interesting insights as follows.

June 6, 2018

Environment Day: The World Must Unite to Beat Plastic Pollution

The world is being ‘swamped’ by harmful plastic waste says United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, marking Environment Day. Microplastic particles in the ocean, now outnumber stars in our galaxy.

June 5, 2018

Austrian Military Investigation into the Golan Heights Ambush: Soldiers' Actions Correct

In September 2012, Austrian UN soldiers on the Golan did not prevent Syrian security forces from entering a deadly ambush. The disciplinary assessment concludes that the conduct of Austria's soldiers had been stressful, but correct, so that the soldiers do not need to be prosecuted.

June 5, 2018

Love, Respect and Solidarity: "Diplomats for Equality" and "Vindobona.org" Support Vienna Pride 2018

The festival "Vienna Pride" is a two-week event of the LGBTI community with the highlight of the Vienna Pride March (Rainbow Parade) on 16 June 2018 and intends to promote human rights for everybody and achieve equality for LGBTI persons. More than 30 Vienna-based embassies and diplomatic missions have come together under the banner "Diplomats for Equality" to support this initiative. Vindobona.org also supports a worldwide non-discriminatory society.

May 31, 2018

Hassan Rouhani Expected in Vienna in Early July

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (حسن روحانی) will meet his Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen in Vienna on 4 July according to media reports.

May 30, 2018

Flight Connection Kuwait-Vienna Carries Arab-Israeli Conflict to Austria

State-owned Kuwait Airways, which will resume operations between Kuwait and Vienna in early June for the summer months, does not carry Israeli citizens. The official reason is a Kuwaiti law from 1964, which bans all companies of the 3.5 million inhabitant oil state from doing business with Israelis.

May 29, 2018

Migration Policy Agency Celebrates 25th Anniversary and Welcomes New Members Malta and Turkey

With Malta and Turkey both joining Vienna based ICMPD in May, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development welcomes two new Member States. ICMPD has now 17 Member States all across Europe. In 2018 ICMPD is also celebrating the 25th anniversary of its founding and is looking into the future to try to see what it may hold in terms of migration and mobility of people.

May 29, 2018

US Termination of the Iran Agreement: Major Effects on Austrian Exports Expected

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber fears that the Trump decision will have a massive negative impact on the Iran business of Austrian companies. It will probably be extraordinarily difficult in the future to establish the necessary payment channels for legitimate transactions.

May 17, 2018

Vienna Energy Forum 2018: Sustainable Energy Provision as a Key to Tackling Poverty

The sixth Vienna Energy Forum 2018 was held from 14 to 16 May, 2018, at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) and the Hofburg Imperial Palace. It was attended by over 1,800 participants from 130 countries, including prime ministers, ministers, high-level government officials, permanent mission representatives, chairs of the regional groups, donors, as well as representatives of the EU, the private sector and development finance institutions.

May 16, 2018

Austria, the OSCE and the Asia Pacific - Effective Multilateralism in a Globalized World

The Austrian Foreign Ministry in the framework of its Chairmanship of the OSCE Asian Contact Group (Afghanistan, Australia, Korea, Japan and Thailand), is organizing a conference on “Effective Multilateralism in a globalized world - The case of Europe and Asia Pacific” at Palais Niederösterreich, Vienna. The conference will focus on multilateral security mechanisms in Europe and the Asia Pacific region, as well as on economic connectivity and co-operation.

May 14, 2018