10. 09. 12. - 16:57
Minister praises Austrians abroad
In Graz the conference of Austrians Abroad http://www.weltbund.at/ has been taking place.
Special guest the foreign minister and vice chancellor Michael Spindelegger (ÖVP) took the opportunity to praise the role of Austrians abroad and also said that he wanted to recognise that by making sure the rights of Austrians abroad were more secure in the future.
Minister Spindelegger said that foreign Austrians were especially valuable to the country and its culture as ambassadors - and it was a constant source of respect to see the impressive ways in which Austrians abroad were building links in foreign climates.
About 1,200 Styrians living abroad came back to Graz to participate at the conference.
They included space explorer Dr. Rudolf Schmidt, the Austrian member of the European Space Agency (ESA), and the internationally successful artist Doris Maninger.
Spindelegger says his office is constantly trying to make life for Austrians living abroad easier as a sign of how much their role was valued, and that this was one of the main tasks of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The worldwide network of 84 embassies and 13 consulates has been handling more than 400,000 legal acts in 2011.
More than 2,500 Austrians were able to get back to Austria through the ministry when they were taken sick, got into an accident or troubles due to financial problems.
Spindelegger emphasized that foreign Austrian should also use their right to vote in elections.
Furthermore, he said he believed that Austrians abroad should have their own parliamentary agency.
The highlight of the conference was the section to choose the best Austrian abroad chef.
The title went to chef Johann Lafer who lives and works in Germany.