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Foreign Minister Schallenberg Opens Ambassadors’ Conference 2022: “We Are All Pulling Together”

AUSTRIA, September 4 - On 5 September, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg welcomed the Austrian ambassadors to this year’s Ambassadors’ Conference of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, which will take place until 9 September in Vienna and Klosterneuburg. The one-week conference brings together the heads of the Austrian embassies and permanent representations in order to deepen the exchange among them and with colleagues in Vienna. The agenda also includes presentations and meetings with the Austrian Federal President, the President of the National Council, government members and business representatives.

In his opening speech, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg addressed the changed security situation in Europe as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This also increases the significance of the work of the Foreign Ministry and of ambassadors around the world.

If the recent crises have shown us anything, it is that our security, stability and prosperity do not start and end at our national borders. In this sense, the Foreign Ministry is also a security ministry. The world has become more uncomfortable. So you need a strong, efficient and effective Foreign Ministry that also has the necessary financial and human resources,

said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, emphasising the importance of having a capable Foreign Ministry.

Another major topic at the Ambassadors’ Conference is the Austrian export economy. The pandemic and the Russian war of aggression are causing global upheavals – forcing Austrian companies to reorient themselves, establish new supply chains, eliminate dependencies and find new markets. The Foreign Ministry plans to actively support the Austrian economy with initiatives like ReFocus Austria.

As we know, more than 50% of Austria’s revenue comes from the export industry; one in two jobs is directly or indirectly dependent on exports. As a result, Austria needs a well-positioned representation network to open doors, build connections and advocate for the Austrian economy abroad,

said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, reflecting on the role that embassies play in the economy.

Despite all the crises, Foreign Minister Schallenberg remains positive. These great challenges, he said, had simply demonstrated how well the Foreign Ministry functioned, and how effectively the ambassadors worked together all over the world. The Ministry would continue to build on this in the future.

We are all pulling together to further improve Austria’s position in the world,

concluded Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

Thematically, this year’s Ambassadors’ Conference focuses on the area of “tech diplomacy”. New technologies are playing an increasingly important role in diplomacy. Cyberattacks, online disinformation, artificial intelligence, and growing competition between the economic powers to gain a technological advantage all mean that tech diplomacy has become part of diplomats’ day-to-day work. In keeping with this theme, the Institute of Science and Technology Austria in Klosterneuburg was chosen as the event venue for the first two days of the conference.