10. 01. 2018 15:12
The first foreign visit by new Austrian Foreign Affairs Minister Karin Kneissl has taken place in Slovakia, a fact that serves not only as a gesture but also as leeway for building closer ties between the two countries in the future, said Foreign and European Affairs Ministry State Secretary Ivan Korčok at a joint press conference with the Austrian minister in Bratislava on Tuesday. The meeting revolved around prospects for further developing bilateral ties and regional cooperation, with emphasis on the geographical proximity of Austria and Slovakia. "The proximity in the geographical sense bears great value. This couldn't have been expressed better than in the fact that the minister travelled to Slovakia today by train," said Korčok. His sentiment was echoed by the Austrian minister. "We're representatives of the two geographically closest capital cities in the world, and we need to make the most of it." The importance of bilateral relations is also reflected by Austrian investments, which, according to Korčok, at €7 billion are the second largest in Slovakia and also translate into jobs. "The task of diplomacy is to open doors. That's why I agreed with the minister that if representatives of business or trade signal not only problems but also opportunities, diplomacy will do its utmost to enable the two countries to capitalise on these options within economic cooperation," stated Korčok. Also broached was the issue of migration, with Kneissl conveying the message that Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz doesn't view migration quotas as the best possible solution. Kurz holds that it's important to find the middle ground and embrace measures that wouldn't be reduced to quotas alone. Both foreign ministry representatives perceive migration as a serious issue, pointing out that any discussion on this issue needs to factor in recent demographic and climate changes.