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Ursula Plassnik, Austrian Foreign Minister since December 2004

Ursula Plassnik
The ruling Austrian People's Party (ÖVP, Österreichische Volkspartei)
"Turkey also plays an exceptionally important role in our relationship with the closer and more distant neighborhood area of the European Union. (Turkey) is a significant factor of stability for the Caucasus, for Central Asia, and for the whole Middle East. The start of negotiations with Turkey is looming. The European Council has decided to start on 3 October. Until then, we will have to find agreement upon a common negotiating framework within the European Union. Everyone knows that Austria has been very active in its support to protect the openness of the negotiating goal. It is now a question of working through the negotiating process step by step, chapter by chapter, in a professional and conscientious manner. The European Council has reiterated the Union's ability to take in new members as a condition, alongside compliance with the accession criteria on the part of the candidate. At this occasion, I would like to refer to the remarkable process of reform that has taken place in Turkey in the past years. Yesterday, Abdullah Gül and I had the opportunity to comment on that before the media, but I also want to acknowledge this before him: these reforms are far-reaching, they will be sustainable, and we will accompany (Turkey) supportively in this process, even if we know the negotiations with the European Union will take their time, and they will perhaps not always be very easy."

Ursula Plassnik's speech at the Europa-Forum Wachau in the presence of Abdullah Gül, Turkish foreign minister. Stift Göttweig, Austria, 4 June 2005

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The Austrian debate on Turkey

  1. Wolfgang Schüssel, Austrian Chancellor (People's Party) since 2000
  2. Ursula Plassnik, Austrian Foreign Minister since December 2004
  3. Reinhold Lopatka, Secretary General of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP)
  4. Andreas Khol (People's Party), President of the Austrian National Council
  5. Benita Ferrero-Waldner (People's Party), EU commissioner for external relations. From 2000 to 2004, Ferrero-Waldner was Austria's foreign minister
  6. Franz Fischler (former People's Party politician), EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, (and Fisheries, from 1999) from 1994 to 2004. He is now an independent consultant
  7. Othmar Karas (People's Party), a MEP who has been opposing a national referendum on Turkey's EU accession. He was the only Austrian People's Party MEP to endorse the Eurlings report on 15 December 2004
  8. Karl-Heinz Grasser is the Austrian finance minister. Although nominally independent, he is a de facto minister of the People's Party.
  9. Jörg Haider, leader of the BZÖ party and governor of Carinthia
  10. Hubert Gorbach (BZÖ) is the Austrian Deputy Chancellor and Minister for Infrastructure
  11. Alfred Gusenbauer has been the chairman of the Austrian Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) since 29 April 2000
  12. Josef Cap (Social Democratic Party), leader of the party in the parliament
  13. Norbert Darabos, Secretary General of the Austrian Social Democratic Party
  14. Heinz Fischer (Social Democratic Party) is the President of Austria
  15. Johannes Swoboda (Social Democratic Party) is a vice president of the PES group in the EP, and has been a MEP since 1996
  16. Michael Häupl has been the Mayor and Governor of Vienna since 1994, and the Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Vienna since 1993
  17. Alexander Van der Bellen, Chairman of the Austrian Green party
  18. Johannes Voggenhuber (The Greens), Austrian MEP
  19. Heinz-Christian Strache, chairman of the FPÖ
  20. Christian Rainer, publisher and editor-in-chief, profil weekly magazine
  21. Peter Michael Lingens, a commentator with profil and founder of this weekly magazine in 1970
  22. Armin Thurnher is editor-in-chief of Falter, a weekly, left-liberal newspaper read mostly in Vienna
  23. Hans Rauscher, an influential freelance commentator for the daily, left-liberal paper Der Standard and the liberal weekly news and business magazine Format, among others
  24. Andreas Unterberger is the editor-in-chief of the daily Wiener Zeitung and an influential conservative commentator
  25. Paul Lendvai is a Hungarian-born Austrian television and print journalist, book author, and a prominent expert on Eastern Europe
  26. Erhard Busek (People's Party) is the Special Co-ordinator for the Stability Pact for South-eastern Europe in Brussels
  27. Albert Rohan, Rapporteur of the "Independent Turkey Commission"
  28. Ewald Nowotny is a Viennese economist, a former deputy director of the European Investment Bank, and a former social democratic MP
  29. Christoph Leitl is the current chairman of Eurochambres, the president of Austria's chamber of commerce, the chairman of the People Party's powerful "Wirtschaftsbund" grouping
  30. Franz Rössler is the Austrian Foreign Trade Promotion Organisation´s Regional Manager for South-eastern Europe at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce
  31. Christian Konrad is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Raiffeisen Zentralbank, the international branch of which is very active in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans
  32. Hannes Androsch, a former social democratic finance minister, is now one of Austria's leading industrialists and an influential voice
  33. Julius Meinl V., presides over Meinl Bank AG, one of Austria's leading private banks with international operations
  34. Wilhelm Hörmanseder is Chief Executive Officer of the Austrian Mayr-Melnhof group
  35. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Chairman of the Austrian Bishops' Conference
  36. Franz Eckert, deacon, is the Austrian Bishops' Conference envoy for European Integration
  37. Egon Kapellari, the Bishop of the Diocese of Graz
  38. Anas Schakfeh, president of the Islamic Community in Austria