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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05VIENNA2670 2005-08-09 09:04:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vienna
Cable title:  

AUSTRIA HOSTS 4TH INFORMAL BALKANS SUMMIT

Tags:   PREL PGOV ECIN AL BK HR MK RO SR AU EUN 
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					UNCLAS VIENNA 002670 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/AGS, EUR/ERA, EUR/SE AND INR/EU

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PGOV ECIN AL BK HR MK RO SR AU EUN
SUBJECT: AUSTRIA HOSTS 4TH INFORMAL BALKANS SUMMIT




1. Summary: The Austrian Government and the Stability

Pact for Southeastern Europe hosted leaders from six

southeastern European countries from 2-3 August for the

4th informal "Balkans Summit." Participants discussed

the region's expectations for EU membership, establishing

a common trade zone (an expanded CEFTA), encouraging more

direct investment, and intensifying regional cooperation

in law enforcement and humanitarian areas. Austria

promised to make rapprochement between the EU and

southeastern Europe a permanent theme during its upcoming

EU Presidency in the first half of 2006. Austrian

Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik reiterated Austria's

strong support for Croatian EU membership. End Summary.



2. Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel and Foreign

Minister Ursula Plassnik welcomed Prime Ministers from

Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia

and Montenegro to the 4th informal Balkans Summit on

August 2-3, 2005. Stability Pact Coordinator (and former

Austrian Vice-Chancellor) Erhard Busek also attended the

gathering. According to Schuessel and press reporting,

discussion focused on EU membership perspectives for the

countries of the region and expectations of support from

the Austrian EU Presidency during the first half of 2006.

The ministers also discussed creating a free trade zone

by expanding the Central European Free Trade Agreement

(CEFTA), increasing incentives to attract more direct

investment, and intensifying regional cooperation in the

areas of law enforcement and humanitarian relief.



3. Foreign Minister Plassnik promised to make EU

perspectives for southeastern European countries "a

permanent theme" of Austria's EU presidency in 2006. In

this context, Macedonian PM Vlado Buckovski said, "it is

important that during Austria's EU Presidency the door

toward Europe be pushed open for all Balkan countries."

Plassnik left no doubt about Austria's strong support for

Croatian EU membership, emphasizing that "Croatia's path

to EU membership serves as a model for its neighbors in

the region." Croatian PM Ivo Sanader underlined his

country's request to begin accession talks with the EU as

soon as possible.



4. EU Stability Pact Coordinator Busek highlighted the

economic progress of the region, noting that trade in the

region has doubled since the end of armed conflicts in

the area. Chancellor Schuessel said the meeting was also

about the "reinvention of Europe," a process in which

"countries of the region would find their place in Europe

again after a turbulent past."

van Voorst