Austria to close embassies in Baltic states

The Austrian Foreign Ministry is planning to close the embassies in the Baltic states and Malta by 2018 in order to save 39 million euros, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said in a statement carried by APA news agency.

The Austrian told journalists that the above embassies would be closed but that other diplomatic missions would be opened in other, strategically more important countries. Austria’s ambassadors to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Malta will be residing in Vienna or the capitals of other nearby countries, for instance, in Stockholm.

The minister explained that Austria is already well represented in the Baltic states in terms of consular services and business cooperation. Kurz denied that the closure of the Austrian embassies has anything to do with current developments like the Ukraine crisis or migration issues in the EU.

Under the reform plan, announced by the Austrian foreign minister, Austria will open embassies in Belarus, Moldova or Georgia.

“I believe that Russian threats to Georgia are much more important. We are therefore focusing on countries that have especially tense relations with Russia,” Kurz said, noting that the Baltic states are already members of the EU and NATO.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

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