Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz met his Croatian counterpart for talks today. Austria maintains very close bilateral relations with Croatia.
The topics addressed during the visit included urgent issues such as migration and the refugee crisis, the enlargement of the European Union in the Western Balkans as well as the conflict in Ukraine and the fight against terrorism. Austria’s planned focus for itsOSCE Chairmanship 2017 was also addressed.
Cooperation with the Western Balkans is one of the priorities of Austrian foreign policy. This relates not only to support and joint approaches in the refugee issue but also to support provided by Austria to the Western Balkan countries on their path towards EU membership.
Croatia is also an important economic partner. With some 750 subsidiaries in Croatia and an export volume of 1.17 billion euros, Austria is the second largest foreign investor in the country. Austrian companies have contributed to creating around 35,000 new jobs in Croatia. Austria is particularly active in ensuring reliable legal framework conditions for Austrian companies.
With some 1.2 million trips to Croatia every year, the country ranks as one of the most favourite destinations among Austrian holidaymakers. This also involves substantial efforts undertaken by staff at the local Austrian embassy in providing consular support. On average, employees answer some 3,000 enquiries received by telephone or in writing and issue up to 80 emergency passports to Austrians every year. During the main holiday season an average number of three consular cases (deaths, transport of sick Austrians, assistance in locating relatives, etc.) are dealt with by embassy staff on a daily basis.
Austria and Croatia also cooperate very closely in the cultural sector. This intensive collaboration, for instance, led to the creation of an institutional framework. With its contemporary, integrative and innovative projects, the Austrian Cultural Forum in Zagreb also addresses the young Croatian audience. In the context of the bridge function they assume between Austria and Croatia, due consideration is also given to supporting the culture of the Burgenland-Croats.
Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs
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