Relations between Canada and Austria are growing, helped by the active international cooperation of both countries, their healthy trade and investment relations and increasing people-to-people ties, particularly through cultural and youth exchanges. Austria’s membership in the European Union and its strong ties to the Central and South-Eastern European region make Austria a valuable interlocutor for Canada on a wide range of political, economic, trade, environmental and security issues with that region.
Austria is also interested in the Canadian immigration and integration policy model, and there is considerable scope for bilateral discussion in this area. For example, in May 2007, senior officials from Austrian federal and municipal departments travelled to Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, as part of a study tour focused on Canadian policies, practices and experiences with welcoming newcomers. Last year, the Vienna School Board sent a delegation to Toronto and Vancouver area school boards, to observe Canadian policies on language training and the integration of visible minorities into their education system.
Canada and Austria share many common interests and similar perspectives on global issues and challenges. They cooperate in multilateral fora, and have been partners in promoting UN reform, arms control and disarmament initiatives, human rights, peacekeeping, and the Human Security Network. Austria’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2009/2010 could provide another avenue for advancing our common multilateral interests.
The Canadian Embassy in Vienna is the 2007/2008 NATO Contact Point Embassy (CPE) for Austria, which is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Programme. Essentially CPE’s are allied embassies that serve as channels between NATO and partner countries by disseminating information and explaining NATO policies to the local government and population through a wide array of activities.
Austria is a top destination for Canadian artists, performers and our cultural industries. Canadian dance enjoys a great reputation and performances by Canada’s best choreographers and troupes regularly sell out. Academic ties are close and growing; Austria boasts three Canadian Studies Centres at the Universities of Vienna, Innsbruck and Graz, and there are exchange programmes between Canadian and Austrian universities, as well as work-study opportunities geared for youth.
Foreign Minister MacKay met Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik in February 2006. The last meeting of the Canadian Prime Minister and the Austrian Chancellor took place in 2003.