26th October 2012: Austrian National Day Celebration in Pristina

 

 

 

first time interpreted in German by the great young kosovan talent Mrs. Linda Halimi.

We also bid farewell to Consul Hubert Beidinger and welcomed at the same time the new Austrian Deputy Head of Mission, Mrs. Monika ZACH, who arrived only on 24th of October in Pristina and the new consul Mr. Alexander Scheller (acting from 30th of October 2012).

In the speech not only Autria's independence and sovereignity was mentioned but also Kosovos end of supervised independence on September 10th this year. But maybe you read yourself - the speech of the Austrian Ambassador to Kosovo.

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Rede vom österreichischen Botschafter, Dr. Johann Brieger, MBA zum Nationalfeiertag am 26.10.2012 in Pristina/KOSOVO:

 

Honorable Madame President,

Ministers,

Members of Parliament,

Excellencies,

honored Guests,

liebe Landsleute!

 

Let me welcome you all tonight for the celebration of this years’ Austrian National Day, coinciding with the festivities of Bajram. This is a very special occasion having both celebrations on the same day. Being very aware of that, I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you for nonetheless honoring our National Day with your presence. Happy Bajram to all of you.

The National Day celebration is a moment to reflect upon what has been achieved, but also a day to celebrate!

On October 26 we celebrate the moment, when Austria regained her independence and sovereignty after 10 years of occupation in 1955. On September 10th this year, only 4 years after declaring your independence, the international supervision of Kosovo’s independence has come to an end.

With this Kosovo has opened a very new chapter in its statehood. You can be proud of what you have achieved in those few years.

Austria is honored to have been able to accompany Kosovo on its path to statehood as a close partner and advocate of your rightful aspirations. Honoring those political and often emotional ties between our countries and citizens, it was thus a very personal desire for our Vice Chancellor Michael SPINDELEGGER to fly to Pristina on September 10th and actively participate in the solemn ceremony in Parliament.

But last year was a very active year of engagement in many respects.

Madame President Atifete JAHJAGA met the Austrian President, Mr. Heinz FISCHER for a bilateral meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York,

The Presidents of our Parliaments came together, both in Vienna and in Pristina and had fruitful discussions. Ministers meet regularly at different levels in order to advance issues of political or practical nature, be it bilaterally or in support of Kosovo’s way into the European Union.

These activities are the result of strong and robust bilateral relations.

With the report by the EU on the Feasibility Study for a Stabilization and Association Agreement – what a complicated term – Kosovo has also made a major leap forward in its relations with the EU. For the first time, Kosovo has been mentioned in its own right and not only in the context with Serbia. This is almost a tectonic shift with wide ranging implications. The EU has finally arrived in Kosovo with a position supported not only by the Commission and 22 member states, but also accepted by the five non-recognizers. This is really important and it is now up to you and to you alone, to meet the different requests expressed in the report.

It reminds me of a discussion I recently had with my own children, aged 20 and 23, who expressed their desire to leave the nest, spread the wings and stand on their own feet. If you stand on your own feet, strong and independent, it is everything you can hope for as a parent. But it also means that you have to take on full responsibility.

We will never abandon our children, but the relationship becomes more robust. Also with the EU your relationship will become more robust and more technical, but not less challenging.

In the political field, a certain amount of optimism has been reinvigorated in the Dialog by the recent meeting between Prime Minister THACI and Prime Minister Dacic in Brussels. This will receive another boost by the joint visit of Secretary Clinton and Baroness Ashton to the region next week. This needs to be consolidated and yield concrete results in order to improve the lives of all your citizens. Also in this process you can count on our support, but also on the support of KFOR and your other international partners and I am very happy to welcome a strong KFOR contingent with us tonight –

COMKFOR General Halbauer – herzlich willkommen.

I also would like to welcome members of our national Austrian contingent under the leadership of Colonel Horst Hofer. You and your troops continue to do a fantastic job and contribute strongly to the positive image Austria enjoys in Kosovo, even when our most visible asset, Camp Casablanca in Suha Reka has been dismantled and handed over to the municipality of Suha Reka, whose Mayor is with us tonight.

Unfortunately with leaving the Camp we also had to leave the great Austrian kitchen we have enjoyed for many years at this occasion. Nonetheless I believe we have in a joint effort between our friends at Sheshi 21 and the Austrian KFOR managed to put together some specialties – including Leberkäse – which I hope you will like. It would not have been possible, would we not have received again a very generous support by our partners Raiffeisen – Robert, thank you very much

and the brothers Hakif and Agon Gashi from Meridian. Thanks a lot!

Let me also thank my dear wife and my fantastic staff at the Embassy, who have worked tirelessly for weeks to organize this evening and make it all happen.

Before coming to the end, I would like to mention one very special person who many of you know and who has been the face of the Austrian Embassy in Pristina for altogether 6 ½ years (in two terms). Hubert Beidinger has done an excellent job under sometimes not so easy circumstances. You have served your country well and the many friends of you, who have come tonight to also bid farewell to you, will certainly join me in giving you a round of well deserved applause. We wish you and your wife Brigitte a good start back home in Austria.

In coming in tonight, you have also seen 2 new faces from the Embassy – it is my new Deputy, Monika Zach, who has arrived from Belgrade on Wednesday this week and our new Consul, Alexander Scheller who also did not want to miss this opportunity tonight to get to know many of you personally. A warm welcome to both of you in Pristina.

To conclude – I need to get back to Austrian specificities – no National Day celebration without some artistic contribution. Last year we enjoyed classical music by Visar KUCI and his friends from “The String Quartet Pristina”. Tonight, we would like to showcase another great talent of young Kosovan Musicians – Linda Halimi. We discovered her recently and it proves that also I as a man, have been very attentive at the recent Women summit organized by Madame President Atifete Jahjaga.

Linda will be accompanied by Edon Ramadani and they will first interpret the national anthems of Austria and Kosovo and then present 2 more pieces of Linda’s favorites. I hope you enjoy.

Thank you very much and please join us for the national anthems.

 

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