opinions, analysis and interviews

emil brix-federal ministry for european and international affairs of austria (en)

  • emil brix

Vienna, 18 October 2007

Austria and the Balkan region are closely connected by common history and geographic vicinity, by joint economic, social and cultural interests.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, our co-operation has even become more intense, with Austria supporting the democratic, social and ecological development especially in South-Eastern Europe.

In this context, the role of culture is of particular importance in promoting mutual understanding and, consequently, peace and stability.
The creative potential and cultural and religious diversity that we find in the works of artists from South-Eastern Europe may indicate to us new paths and show us new answers in the evaluation of the past and in constructing the future of this region that holds a key role in the development of our entire continent.

Thus the Austrian Foreign Ministry welcomes the exhibition project “Good morning, Balkan” which provides a platform also for presenting visual artists from Balkan countries and from the European Union. This project is a fascinating “work in progress” with former presentations in cities like, Athens, Bukarest, Tirana, Pristina and Trieste

I would like to thank the `Forum Weltoffen´ and its President Fate Velaj, for this important initiative which helps us to share the visions of 20 artists from Western Europe, Austria and the `Balkans´ on the process of European integration.

Special thanks go, of course, to the City of Ohrid that has always been a meeting point of Eastern and Western culture, of ancient traditions and modern life, and to its Mayor Aleksandar Petreski, with whom we have been able to co-operate on splendid initiatives such as the Ohrid Summer Festival earlier this year.