Deputy Ambassador of Austria to Slovakia Marian Wrba explains some of the main objectives of Austria's EU presidency.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What are Austria's priorities during its EU presidency?
Marian Wrba (MW): Austria will give priority to the issue of job creation and economic growth in Europe, the development and preservation of a specifically European social model of social protection and welfare, and rebuilding confidence in the European project among EU citizens.
Another important objective is to strengthen the role of the European Union in the world. With almost half a billion inhabitants, a quarter of world trade and as the world's largest development aid donor, the European Union has a significant role to play internationally.
Because of Slovakia's membership in the United Nations' Security Council, the Slovak Republic will play a very important role as a cooperation partner of the Presidency in the area of external relations and global issues within the UN system.
TSS: Which of the Austrian priorities will directly affect Slovakia?
MW:Working for economic growth and jobs in Europe, the preservation of sustainable development, strengthening the area of freedom, security and justice - as a full member of the EU, Slovakia, and thus Slovak citizens, will directly benefit from joint Community approaches in these areas.
TSS: Opinion surveys show that people have high expectations of the European Union in the areas of employment and social security.
MW: These expectations must not be disappointed. The Presidency's programme introduces concrete measures to promote growth and employment. As part of the Lisbon Strategy to improve economic dynamism in Europe, the Austrian Presidency will seek to further improve basic conditions for businesses, thus providing a solid foundation for the creation of more and better jobs. At the same time, the Presidency aims to make social security systems more efficient and to coordinate them better with economic and employment processes.
6. Feb 2006 at 0:00