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The Warsaw Voice » Other » May 10, 2006
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A Waltz With the EU
May 10, 2006   
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Dr Alfred Langle, ambassador of Austria, talks to Ewa Hancock.

While taking over EU presidency, Austria announced a list of priorities. How is their implementation proceeding?
The general objectives of the Austrian presidency ar:
- to create jobs and growth in Europe;
- to secure and develop a specifically European way of life;
- to rebuild confidence in the European project among EU citizens;
- to further establish Europe as a strong and reliable partner in the world.

The Austrian EU-presidency has already achieved much progress in all of these areas.

The first European Council under the current Austrian EU presidency on March 23 and 24 strengthened the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy, thereby setting a new impulse for growth and employment in Europe. Measures were agreed, among others, in the areas of research and development and the support for small and medium-sized enterprises. Furthermore, the European Council initiated an Energy Policy for Europe: for the first time, energy policy will be coordinated within the EU on the basis of a common concept.

Furthermore, the Austrian EU presidency has put great emphasis on furthering the discussion on the future of Europe. Starting with the huge Sound of Europe conference in Salzburg at the end of January (reminding, among others, of the 250th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) with a debate on European identity, more public attention has been brought to this question. Also, Poland's capital will play a key role in this process with the ex oriente lux conference as a follow-up to Sound of Europe that has taken place in Warsaw May 11-13, organized by the Austrian Cultural Forum and the Center of International Relations.

Last but not least, the Austrian presidency has been very successful in presenting the EU as an important player in international politics based on a coherent policy, for example, concerning the new Hamas-dominated government of the Palestinian Autonomy and the nuclear dispute with Iran as well as on South-Eastern Europe which has become closer to the European integration process.
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