On 5 August, a meeting of all foreign ministers from German speaking countries took place between Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter and the Foreign Minister of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn following the invitation of the Foreign Minister of Liechtenstein Aurelia Frick. The meeting was held at the Gutenberg Castle in Liechtenstein and allowed for an exchange of information on current developments taking place in each respective country. The talks also focussed particularly on the current challenges faced by Europe and on an international level.
Predominant topics on a European level included Brexit, migration, measures to fight terrorism as well as de-radicalisation and the strategic organization for development cooperation. Europe needs to be stronger, in particular regarding big questions, such as finding a common foreign and security policy.
The topic of migration and integration focussed on fighting illegal migration by strengthening EU external borders, yet at the same time creating legal pathways for refugees to come to Europe through resettlement programmes as well as providing more aid in the countries of origin. Austrian Foreign Minister Kurz emphasised that when it comes to integration, the approach should be on “integration through achievement”, focussing on language development, courses for orientation and on values as well as on swift inclusion in the job market by enacting laws to recognise foreign qualifications.
In terms of the OSCE: Germany will chair the OSCE until the end of December and will then hand over to Austria in 2017. Austria will promote greater security and stability as well as the preservation of common values within theOSCE region. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz announced that the three main priorities will be to reduce current conflicts, work together in the fight against radicalization and extremism and counteract the increasing loss of trust between countries but also that of citizens towards state institutions and organizations that are supposed to guarantee peace and uphold European values. Prevention work to combat radicalisation in its early stages is particularly important and young people are the main focus here in particular.
Developments in Syria, Libya, the Ukraine and the latest events in Turkey in particular were also discussed at the meeting.
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