Sanctions levied against Austria by the 14 other European Union countries following the election of 52 members of the Freedom Party to the country’s parliament are likely to be lifted soon, said Peter Moser, Austria’s ambassador to the U.S., at a reception in Atlanta last week.
The sanctions, which reduce bi-lateral contacts between Austria and the other EU countries, but do not effect trade, were enacted in protest of past remarks made by Freedom Party leader Joerg Haider in praise of some Third Reich policies.
“The sanctions were intended to scare the country,” Mr. Moser told GlobalFax following the reception, which was held at the offices of the honorary consul of Austria to Atlanta, Ferdinand Seefried, who is also president of Seefried Properties Inc., a real estate firm.
However, disciplinary action does not change the election results, nor does it change the need for reforms in Austria and in the EU, which is why members of the party were elected, he said.
There should be more autonomy granted to EU member countries in deciding national policy, he said. Austria needs to protect its large agricultural sector and steps toward the privatization of many state-owned companies are necessary.
“Now is the time to make reforms from a conservative platform,” he said.
Mr. Moser said that more progressive leadership in his country and the joining of Central and Eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to the EU, could help Austria become a hub for trade in the union.
Call the Austrian Trade Commission at (404) 995-9347.
by Melissa Pracht