Linhart: “Europe’s foreign policy must focus on the stabilisation of neighbouring regions”

Secretary General for Foreign Affairs opened the 19th AIES Europe Forum

Vienna, 6 November 2015 – “The European foreign policy must focus more of its attention on the neighbourhood, the stabilisation thereof – and in the case of the Western Balkans, their way towards the EU – has to be our European priority”, Secretary General for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Michael Linhart declared on the occasion of the 19th Europe Forum of the Austria Institute for Europe and Security Policy (AIES) in the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna on 6 November 2015. The meeting revolved around the development of the EU-global strategy, the foreign policy strategy of the European Union, which the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is to produce in accordance with the member states in June 2016.

“In the face of the multitude of international crises there is the danger to lose sight of priorities. It is sensible for the EU to especially become active in areas providing a certain added value. The EU-global strategy therefore should define clear priorities”, said Secretary General Linhart, who underlined the importance of the neighbouring regions, whose conflicts may well have direct consequences for Europe: “ The refugee crisis is a global challenge, which no country and no region can hope to tackle on her own. Foreign policy plays a central role in this respect, to find diplomatic solutions for the conflicts in the Middle East and Northern Africa and continue the fight against IS/Daesh in Syria and Iraq.”

Secretary General Linhart highlighted the issue of multilateral diplomatic solutions, which is a central theme for Austria: “Dialogue and multilateral solutions for problems and conflicts in the world as core of our European foreign policy – there is no way around them. The Iran and Syria negotiations have once again proven, that Vienna has a firm standing as place of dialogue and international diplomacy.”