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Friday, 2 December 2005

An official visit of the President of the Republic of Poland to the Republic of Austria

On 2 December 2005, the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, and the First Lady paid an official visit to the Republic of Austria.
 
In the morning, the Polish President met with the President of Austria, Heinz Fischer. Summing up their talks, the Polish President told the media:
 
I wish to express my gratitude to Mr. President for inviting me to pay a visit to Austria. Mr. President, playing various roles, including that of the speaker of the Austrian Parliament, has made a major contribution to Polish-Austrian relations. I greatly appreciate it and I would like to thank him for that on behalf of the Republic of Poland. This past decade has been a very special time for Poland. Not only do we have a new Constitution, not only have we joint NATO, but also we are a European Union member, an active regional player and a country exporting stability from the Baltic region. I think this is important and appreciated. This was also very much appreciated in connection with our role as a mediator in Ukraine. I am convinced that the past decade has been a good time for Poland – in political, economic and social terms. I am happy that I have been able to contribute to that as President. During this time, Polish-Austrian relations have been important, Austria’s support for our efforts to join the EU was important, and our bilateral political activities have been very important. We do appreciate Austrian investments in Poland. All this has helped us to modernise Poland and to prepare it for EU membership. I am also happy that now, a few years on, such tensions as did occur in Polish-Austrian relations – for example in connection with the residence of some of my compatriots here in Austria, with illegal employment and unregistered residence – are now virtually over. Today, we can speak about this situation quite calmly and I believe that there will be complete normality in the form of the opening of the labour market. We will thus be able to enjoy our membership in the same European structures. I thank my Austrian partners very much for this decade. I have had an opportunity to work together with President Klestil, now with President Fischer, with Chancellors and ministers. I wish to express my gratitude to all of them. I have played host to many of them in my Presidential Palace. It is also my belief that after the change of the government in Poland, after the change of the President, this good quality of Polish-Austrian relations will be maintained, for it is in the interest of our two countries. And it is also what the EU needs. We can thus pursue the EU’s priority objectives better and more effectively. I am convinced that my successor and Poland’s new government will take a very active approach towards Polish-Austrian relations, and that all the good things that we have managed to achieve will be strengthened and followed up on. From what I heard from President Fischer it is clear that the Austrian side is ready for such active co-operation with Poland. It is waiting for the new President, for the new prime minister, for the new ministers. Let us carry on!
 
Subsequently, the two Presidents went to the Austrian National Gallery to see the exhibition ‘The New Austria’.
 
In the afternoon, the Polish President met with the President of the National Council of the Republic of Austria, Andreas Khol.
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