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Meetings Calendar 2006
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FAQ

 

Why hold an EU-US Summit?

The yearly EU-US summits provide an excellent opportunity to take stock of relations between the European Union and the United States and to enhance cooperation.

These summits alternate between Washington and Europe. This year it is Europe's turn again and it is traditionally up to the country holding the rotating EU Presidency to host the summit. As a result, Austria has the opportunity to present itself as a Central European hub.

How often do these summits take place?

These summits were initiated in 1990 and have been taking place on a yearly basis alternately in Washington and in Europe, i.e. in the EU country holding the rotating EU Presidency.

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How important are the EU’s relations with the USA?

The US is Europe’s most important trading and investment partner. Almost two thirds of foreign direct investment in the EU comes from the US. Foreign direct investment in both directions currently stands at around €1.5 trillion. Trade relations, worth up to a billion euros a day, are extremely smooth. The transatlantic economy secures 14 million jobs on the two sides of the Atlantic. The EU and the USA together account for roughly 57% of world GDP and can thus be considered the twin engine of the world economy.

The importance of EU-US relations is also illustrated by the two sides' numerous consultations on a wide range of issues. The US and the EU consult each other on foreign policy issues much more often than the general public may be aware. During the term of one EU Presidency alone, there are approximately 50 meetings between the US and the EU on issues such as combating terrorism, promotion of democracy, the UN and on other regions of the world. In addition, there is an almost daily exchange at the working level.

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What will be the main theme of this summit?

The agenda for the summit is still under negotiation and will of course also be determined by current political events. It can be expected, however, that energy and energy security, democracy and freedom, political developments in Iran, Iraq, the Middle East, economic and environment issues, as well as the visa waiver programme will be discussed.

 

Are any agreements up for signature?

The EU and the US will sign an agreement* on co-operation in the area of education. Its main objectives are to optimise quality standards on both sides and to promote mutual understanding. Specific measures include the introduction of joint courses of study (= automatic recognition of study periods and, where appropriate, of study certificates), exchange programmes for students and teaching staff, and co-operation programmes for education institutions.

*exact title: Agreement for the Renewal of the Cooperation Programme in the Field of High School and Professional Education, period 2006-2013, estimated funding by each side: € 46 Million.

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Will there also be bilateral meetings?

President Bush will have bilateral talks with President Fischer and Chancellor Schüssel.

 

What part are the other EU Member States playing in the summit?

They will not be participating in the summit itself but they are informed of every step we take and are involved in the drafting of all documents through the COTRA Council Working Group. The Presidency has the task of working out the EU position with the 24 other Member States and with the European Commission and to defend it in the talks with other partners, in this case the USA.

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Who is attending?

Summit meetings take place at the level of Heads of State or Government. This means that the US President will be meeting the current President of the European Council, Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, Commissioners Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Peter Mandelson, and the Secretary General of the Council and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, will also participate in the talks.

 

Why is the summit being held in Austria and not in Brussels?

Summit meetings of the EU usually alternate between the country of the partner in question and Europe, more specifically the EU country currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU. The last EU-US summits took place in June 2005 in Washington and in June 2004 in Ireland (Dromoland Castle)

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What security measures are planned in connection with the summit?

The Ministry of the Interior and the Vienna police (Landespolizeikommando Wien) have special websites for the EU-US summit, which provide information on policing measures in connection with the summit.

Links:

Federal Ministry of the Interior

Landespolizeikommando Wien

or ring 059133-9500 (minimum rate throughout Austria).

 

When was the last time a US president visited Austria?

There have been numerous visits to Austria by US Presidents in recent times, although neither at an official level nor at a bilateral level. The most spectacular visits to Vienna took place in the context of the US-USSR summit meetings in the sixties and seventies.

  • The summit meeting between US President John F. Kennedy and USSR Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev took place in June 1961 in Vienna. It was the first encounter of the young US President with a Soviet leader at a time of high East –West tensions.
  • 18 years later there was another summit meeting between the then superpowers and again on the issue of disarmament. US President Jimmy Carter met the Soviet President and Party Leader Leonid Brezhnev in June 1979 for the signature of the second Agreement on Strategic Arms Limitation (SALT II).
  • President Richard Nixon was in Austria unofficially in 1972 and 1974; his successor Gerald Ford met the then Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in June 1975 in Salzburg.
  • The father of the current President, George W. Bush senior, paid an official visit to Austria in 1983 in his capacity as US Vice-President at the conclusion of an official visit to Eastern Europe.

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State visits by Austrian presidents and chancellors in Washington

  • The first Austrian President to pay a state visit to the USA in the history of Austria-US relations was Rudolf Kirchschläger in February 1984 (with Ronald Reagan).
  • Austrian chancellors travel to the US regularly. Chancellor Julius Raab visited the US in 1958, Alfons Gorbach in 1962, Josef Klaus in 1968 and Bruno Kreisky in 1974 and 1983. Franz Vranitzky first travelled to Washington in May 1987, had several meetings with Bush senior and paid a visit to President Clinton in 1994. Chancellor Klima met with Clinton during the last Austrian EU Presidency in 1998. Chancellor Schüssel met President Bush at the White House in the aftermath of the 9.11 attacks and most recently in December 2005 in the context of the preparations for the Austrian EU Presidency.

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Date: 21.06.2006