Austria 2019 National Day reception hosted by the Embassy of Austria Seoul held in a downtown hotel Seoul last Friday evening (Oct. 25th) was a venue which confirms long friendship of the two countries including the memories of former First Lady Francesca Lhee, spouse of Korea's first President Lhee Seung-man and angels of Sorok Island, to name just a few.
Nevertheless, Austria Amb. H.E. Dr. Michael Schwarzinger stressed: "2019 is a good year for the further deepening of the excellent relations between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Austria as well as Austria’s new Government will actively continue working to uphold and to further deepen the excellent relations with the Republic of Korea", not remaining in such two nations' long friendship's history.
First off, Schwarzinger pinpointed that Austria and South Korea share a strong wish to act as close partners in preparing for the fourth industrial revolution and both discuss their further cooperation in the digitalization, artificial intelligence and autonomous driving sectors. In that regard, Austria wants to be a leading country in the 5G industry in Europe, and working with South Korea contributes to this goal, said Schwarzinger.
With research and development accounting for 3.19% (2018) of the country’s GDP, Austria performs well above the EU and OECD average. The countries research establishment participates above-average in the EU funding framework programme, with Austria ranking 5th in the success rate of the prestigious and highly competitive grants that are given by the European Research Council, according to Austria Commercial Office, Austria Embassy's Commercial wing.
So Austrian researchers and scientists are among the world’s elite in numerous areas, such as quantum physics, mathematics and medicine, as well as the humanities and social sciences. Austrian universities follow policies of advancing internationalization in the field of research.
Touching upon its business landscape, the Amb. said that The Austrian business landscape is characterized by innovative small and medium sized enterprises, which form the backbone of Austria’s innovation economy, adding Innovative companies can make use of an elaborated research financing support system and Austria‘s three most important export markets in Asia are China, Japan and South Korea.
Referring to the two countries' political arena's cooperations in the international stage, Austria envoy Schwarzinger mentioned: "There was much common ground between the statements of Korean and Austrian leading representatives at the UN General Assembly in New York. Both nations in similar ways joined the many others which highlighted the importance of ruled-based multilateralism in going against major global challenges such as the climate change and the eradication of poverty. It was one of the highlights among the events when President Moon Jae-in officially declared that the Republic of Korea will host the second P4G Summit in Seoul in June 2020."
Priot to this, in February this year, Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz visited Korea together with the Minister for Science Heinz Fassmann and with a large business delegation, according to the Embassy of Austria.
The Austrian visitors were very generously received in the Blue House by President Moon Jae-in. There, and also during a very friendly dialogue with Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, the Korean side expressed gratitude for Austria's support for the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, Schwarzinger conveyed.
Chancellor Kurz also underlined that Austria is cooperating with the international community to support the denuclearization of North Korea and the implementation of peace on the Korean Peninsula. This was by the way the second meeting between Prime Minister Lee and Federal Chancellor Kurz. They had met already at a bilateral visit in Austria’s capital Vienna in May 2018.
Please refer to the Oct. issue of the Seoulcity magazine with regard to Austria Amb. Michael Schwarzinger's English contribution article about Austria National Day 2019.