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Two-Year Mission Comes to an End: Schallenberg and Tanner Thank Soldiers in the Foreign Ministry’s Call Center

AUSTRIA, March 14 - 15 March 2022 marks the end of a two-year assignment of soldiers from the Austrian Army at the Foreign Ministry. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Minister of Defence Klaudia Tanner visited the Foreign Ministry’s Call Center on Monday to farewell the soldiers and thank them for their great dedication. Because of the significant increase in calls due to the pandemic, a total of over 200 soldiers have stepped in since 19 March 2020 to help the Foreign Ministry respond to inquiries about travel information and COVID measures as well as the situation in crisis regions. 

The past two years have demanded a great deal from all of us. Thanks to the professional collaboration between soldiers from the Austrian Army and the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs team, we have been able to actively support many Austrians who were seeking help in extraordinary circumstances. Thank you very much to Klaudia Tanner and her soldiers for helping our Austrian red-white-red team accomplish this feat!

said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg during the farewell for the recruits.

At the start of the pandemic, the call center received up to 50,000 calls a day. At peak times, up to 240 people were working in shifts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Foreign Ministry’s Call Center was often the first point of contact for people who needed help travelling home to Austria, or who had applied for repatriation. The Austrian Army’s support was also very valuable during the evacuations from Afghanistan in the late summer of 2021 and most recently at the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.

Overall, the Foreign Ministry has received more than half a million calls in the last two years, which would not have been manageable without the help of the Austrian Army. Thanks to the service-oriented collaboration between the two offices, the call center was able to offer reliable information to travellers and Austrians living abroad.

Over the past two years and beyond, our national army has shown that it will always help out when needed and provide support wherever support is urgently required. So far there has yet to be a call for help or support that our soldiers have been unable to handle. This is particularly demonstrated by their dedicated work in the Foreign Ministry’s Call Center. I would like to extend a very warm thank-you to all those who worked around the clock here, offering an open ear for the general public and assistance with their concerns and questions,

said Minister of Defence Klaudia Tanner.

Because the inquiry volume has now declined noticeably, the partnership with the Austrian Army can be concluded for the time being. The Foreign Ministry’s Call Center will continue to provide consular information round the clock under +43(0)501150-4411.