Stability along the European Union’s eastern borders, political solutions to the Syrian and Libyan crises and the gradual European integration of the Balkan countries are important sectors for cooperation between Italy and Austria. This was what emerged from meetings in Rome between the delegations led by Farnesina Secretary General Michele Valensise and his Austrian opposite number Michael Linhart within the framework of periodic diplomatic consultations between Italy and Austria.
Valensise and Linhart discussed the excellent status of relations and the potential for growth in trade relations and investments flows between the two countries, not least in view of the upcoming EXPO 2015 in Milan. With nearly 17 billion euro in trade in 2014, Italy is Austria’s second trade partner. There is also potential for increased collaboration within the context of the Central European Initiative (CEI, headquartered in Trieste), and in works for the completion of the Brenner Base Tunnel.
“We share Austria’s strong interest in the Balkans, whose historic and geographic roots are deep”, Ambassador Valensise underscored, “and that is why we have announced Italy’s interest in the governmental conference on the region that the Austrian government will sponsor in Vienna in late August”.
Ambassadors Valensise and Linhart also reviewed the agenda of Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz’s visit to Rome on 7 April.