The topics discussed in the working meeting with Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz included current issues such as opportunities for cooperation on refugee issues, the fight against terrorism and the Austrian priorities for its OSCE Chairmanship in 2017.
Both foreign ministers agreed that an effective solution of the refugee issue also required strict controls at the external Schengen borders. It is most essential that the root causes of migration and flight be addressed in the countries of origin. Foreign Minister Kurz also stressed the necessity of observing the 5 Points Plan in efforts aimed at countering the refugee crisis. Along with effectively combating the causes of migration and flight this also requires joint efforts towards guaranteeing safety and security at local level. This includes not only the protection of the EU’s external borders but also cooperation and monitoring along the Western Balkans route and dealing with all refugees on the same terms within the EU under the Relocation Programme. In this context, collaboration with and support to the Western Balkan countries is as pivotal as cooperation with Turkey. However, due regard must be paid to the approach to fundamental freedoms and human rights in Turkey in this respect. Both countries also attach particular importance to the fight against terrorism.
For many years now, Austria and Norway have been cooperating very closely in multilateral fora, especially in the human rights area and with respect to international humanitarian rights. There is also close cooperation between the European Union and Norway in the international climate negotiations. Both share similar positions and place a special focus on renewable energy resources. Since 2014, Austria has also collaborated with Norway in the consular field: Norway has represented Austria in visa matters in Malawi since August 2014.
With an export volume of 425.8 million euros (2015) and an import volume of 259.6 million euros, Austria also maintains very close economic relations with Norway. The Austrian companies active in the Norwegian market are mainly from the construction, energy, infrastructure, high-tech products and solutions sectors and also supply high quality consumer goods. The largest Austrian company with subsidiaries in Norway is OMV, followed inter alia by Andritz Hydro GmbH, Palfinger Europe GmbH, Rosenbauer International AG, Fischer Sports GmbH and PORR.