Consultations of Slovenian and Austrian directors-general for European Affairs
Director-General for EU Affairs Barbara Sušnik today held virtual consultations with Andreas Riecken, Director General for the European Union and Economic Affairs at the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs. They discussed bilateral cooperation, exchanging information on the state of play in their respective countries in relation to curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and on topical issues within the EU.
The two expressed satisfaction with the friendly relations and regular bilateral political dialogue. They also mentioned the Year of the Neighbourhood Dialogue and welcomed positive economic cooperation, stressing the need to support economic recovery from the current crisis.
Director-General Sušnik and Director General Riecken stressed the importance and contribution of the Slovenian national minority in Austria to the close relations between the two countries. Director-General Sušnik highlighted current issues of the Slovenian national minority in Austria, particularly the need to find systemic solutions to regulate the status of minority media and for bilingual education.
The directors-general discussed the current epidemiological situation in their respective countries and the neighbourhood, the relaxation of COVID-19 measures, and EU-level COVID-19 coordination.
Particular attention was devoted to the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework and the Recovery Fund, and the recently adopted compromise solution was welcomed, which paves the way for the adoption of the entire package. Both directors-general called for its implementation as soon as possible. They also took this opportunity to discuss the future of Europe, the rule of law, and migration and went on to exchange views on the importance of bringing the Western Balkan countries closer to the EU.
Director-General Sušnik outlined for her Austrian counterpart the priorities of the Slovenian EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2021.