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Foreign Minister Michael Linhart on working visit in Paris

AUSTRIA, November 25 - On 26 November 2021, Foreign Minister Michael Linhart met with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris for a work meeting. They spoke at length about the Western Balkans and the EU expansion process. In addition, the two foreign ministers discussed the current security situation in the Sahel region, where both France and Austria are participating in an EU training mission.

In the course of the meeting with his counterpart, Michael Linhart emphasised the positive development of the Western Balkan states, which he had been able to see for himself just recently during his trips to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia, and Albania.

The Western Balkan region is an important puzzle piece for creating a unified, secure, and economically strong Europe. Without the Western Balkans, the big picture will never be complete. The Western Balkan states have fulfilled their duties, and they are important future markets. That’s why the next logical step for Austria is to begin EU agreement talks with Albania and Northern Macedonia,

said Foreign Minister Michael Linhart.

Another focus of the meeting was the unstable situation in Mali and the Sahel region, which has enormous significance for security in the EU. Both Austria and France are actively engaged on the ground in the shared fight against terrorism and organised crime. In late 2021, Austria will take over the important role of EU training mission commander in Mali.

It is in our common interest to help stabilise the situation in Mali in order to protect the local population. It is also essential to the security of the EU, so we will continue to monitor the situation very closely,

said Michael Linhart.

Other discussion topics included the ongoing crisis in Lebanon as well as France’s EU Council Presidency in the first half of 2022. The Foreign Minister promised Austria’s support for this.

In addition to the close friendship and traditionally good diplomatic relations between France and Austria, Foreign Minister Michael Linhart also has strong personal connections to France and its people. Prior to his inauguration as Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, Michael Linhart was the Austrian ambassador in Paris.