From 21 to 23 January 2016, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz took part in the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, where more than 2,500 politicians, business representatives, industrialists and economists gather annually. The motto of this year’s meeting is “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Discussions were, however, dominated by the refugee crisis and the future of the European economy.
Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz also chaired a panel discussion on the topic of integration of refugees. In this context he reiterated that introducing a cap was the right thing to do for Austria, as “unlimited admission” was not possible. “It cannot be the case that all refugees who come to Europe deliberately choose which country they apply for asylum in”.
With Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria, Foreign Minister Kurz discussed the future of Syria and potential strategies aimed at reaching a solution. Leading figures participating in the talks included Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Foreign Minister of Lebanon, Gebran Bassil.
In the context of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz also held numerous talks and meetings with political counterparts and business leaders. He also used the opportunity for an exchange of views with the new Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze and his Swiss counterpart Didier Burkhalter, not only discussing the excellent bilateral relations Austrian enjoys with both countries but also the Austrian priorities for the OSCE chairmanship in 2017. Switzerland held the OSCEchairmanship in 2014, which was a challenge particularly in view of to the Ukraine crisis. Other topics addressed included finding a complete and collective European solution to tackle the refugee issue and the question of resettlement across Europe.
On the margins of the Davos Forum, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz also spoke with successful Austrians abroad including Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nestlé, Hikmet Ersek, President of Western Union and Paul Achleitner, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank AG.
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