Culture, Media, Science
Council of Ministers adopted new Security Policy Act
On 5 September 2004 the Council of Ministers adopted the new Security Policy Act, which will merge Austria’s urban and rural police forces (“Polizei” and “Gendarmerie”). In the future about 27,000 police officers will serve under the common name “Polizei” and wear blue uniforms. The reform is to be implemented by 1 July 2005.
Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel referred to one of the “great and important reforms”. “The top priority of this law is to offer an organisational framework for more security in Austria and for Austria’s citizens“, stressed Schüssel. He highlighted the streamlined structures and greater efficiency of the new police force. After the merger, 500 additional police officers will work in the field. “This will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the combat against crime”, said the Federal Chancellor.
The new Security Police Act will introduce “protected zones, e.g. around schools. Suspicious persons (e.g. drug dealers) may be evicted from these zones. The police will also have a right to prohibit persons to enter and stay in protected zones as well as to conduct identity checks.
The new provisions on intensified video surveillance of public places are to enter into force already on 1 January 2005. Schüssel explained: “Neuralgic hot spots of crime, where citizens feel unsafe, should be placed under surveillance”. However, video surveillance must be subject to prior announcement and the consent of a Legal Rights Officer. ■
Chancellor Schüssel announced tighter asylum provisions
Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel announced tighter asylum provisions at a meeting behind closed doors of the parliamentary group of the People’s Party (ÖVP) in St. Wolfgang (Upper Austria) on 1 October 2004. Thus it should become possible to send back refugees coming from safe third countries, which in the past was illegal unless they were detained at the border. In the future expulsion should also be admissible if refugees became criminal in Austria. “Not everybody applying for asylum in Austria can be granted asylum“, emphasised Schüssel. Above all, criminal refugees should not expect to be allowed to stay in Austria. Now the “rules of the game” are to be changed” in these two cases, said the Federal Chancellor. ■
Vorarlberg: ÖVP-FPÖ coalition government continued
Vorarlberg’s People’s Party (ÖVP) opted to continue governmental cooperation with the Freedom Party (FPÖ) on 28 September 2004. According to Governor Herbert Sausgruber, there were “less differences with the FPÖ than with the Social Democrats” regarding concrete issues. Thus the composition of Vorarlberg’s government will not change. At the regional elections on 19 September 2004 the ÖVP had re-gained the absolute majority (54.9% of the votes). ■
Schüssel: conditional “yes” to open-ended negotiations with Turkey
On 6 October 2004, the European Commission recommended to open accession negotiations with Turkey provided that strict requirements were met. According to Commission President Romano Prodi, this was a “conditional yes” and it was indispensable to ensure that the reforms in Turkey were fully implemented and that human and basic rights were complied with. The heads of state and government could give the official go-ahead for negotiations at the EU summit in December.
Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel considers negotiations with an open end “very reasonable” and an “interesting attitude in the discussion”. After the phase of analysis, the discussion would start now. Moreover, negotiations would not automatically mean accession, underlined Schüssel in a first comment. However, EU accession “in maybe 15 to 20 years” should not be excluded.
In an interview with the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) on 6 October 2004, Schüssel also explained that Turkey still had not met a number of entry criteria and that some EU internal questions were still open, e.g. costs, agriculture, immigration or labour market. ■
Federal Chancellor Schüssel at ASEM summit meeting in Hanoi
The fifth Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) in Hanoi (8/9 October 2004) was overshadowed by a controversy about the human rights policy of Burma (Myanmar). The European participants once more called upon the military regime of the South Asian country to take measures to improve the human rights situation. The summit meeting had threatened to fail because of Burma’s recent admission to the ASEM group.
Other items ranking high on the agenda were international terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Austria’s Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel advocated a closer cooperation between European and Asian states in international organisations such as the United Nations (UN). In view of the global challenges Chancellor Schüssel demanded to increase the financial and human resources of the Vienna-based UN organisations, informed his spokeswoman Verena Nowotny
The ASEM group consists of the 25 EU Member States, 13 Asian states as well as the European Com¬mission. The aim of the informal forum is to strengthen the economic and political relations between Asia and Europe. ■
Federal President Heinz Fischer pays official visit to Rome
Federal President Heinz Fischer – accompanied by his wife Margit – travelled for a two-day official visit to Rome on 6 October 2004 to meet inter alia with Italy’s President of State Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and high-ranking Members of Parliament. The talks focused on bilateral issues, South Tyrol, EU enlargement and the future European Constitution as well as the planned accession negotiations with Turkey.
Fischer told reporters that the talks had been very friendly and constructive. Furthermore, Austria’s Federal President emphasised that Italy and Austria shared a “very similar or identical approach” to most European issues. This was the expression of excellent and close bilateral relations, which had “further developed in a very pleasant way”.
Both sides highlighted the internationally renowned model of South Tyrol’s autonomy. In this context, Ciampi and Berlusconi assured that due regard was being paid to the interests of South Tyrol in amending the Italian Constitution.
The two nations also agreed that a responsible approach towards Turkey was required. On the basis of the report of the European Commission the decision had to be prepared carefully by which Turkey would be given a European perspective in December, explained Fischer. ■
Ferrero-Waldner’s hearing before the European Parliament
In the hearing before the European Parliament on 5 October 2004, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Austrian Foreign Minister and EU Commissioner designate for external relations and neighbourhood policy, pleaded for greater efforts by the EU to become a “dynamic, global player”. In her introductory remarks presented in German, French, English and Spanish she also advocated intensified relations with the UN.
Ferrero-Waldner’s statement then focused on neighbourhood policy in the East and South but also on the support of the Middle East peace process. Moreover, the EU had a vital interest in a democratic, stable and economically strong Russia. At the same time she criticised current setbacks in Russia’s democratic development.
In a press release Ferrero-Waldner described the European Commission’s Report on Turkey as an “informative document” and “valuable” basis for discussion. ■
Talks on Kosovo in Vienna
Representatives of the Serb and Kosovo-Albanian government met in Vienna on 28 September 2004 for talks about decentralisation and local self-government in the province of Kosovo currently controlled by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK). The meeting had been agreed on the occasion of the United Nations Plenary Assembly in New York based on an initiative of the Balkans Contact Group (USA, Russia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy). ■
Autumn forecast of Wifo and IHS: the economy is on a growth path
According to the economic forecasts presented on 1 October 2004 by the Institute for Economic Research (Wirtschaftsforschungsinstitut/Wifo) and the Institute for Advanced Studies (Institut für Höhere Studien/IHS), Austria’s economy is growing by 2% in real terms this year and by 2.5% next year. Exports are the main growth engine in 2004. In 2005 growth will be stimulated by the effects of the tax reform, which is likely to revive domestic demand.
Compared to the forecasts of early July, Wifo adjusted its 2004 growth forecast from 1.7 to 1.9%, while IHS sticks to a GDP plus of 2.1%.
“The economic upswing is here”, commented Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel the revised economic forecasts at the closed-door meeting of the People’s Party in St. Wolfgang on 1 October 2004. He pointed out that in the first half-year exports had registered a double-digit growth. The labour market was also recovering: the number of unemployed in the age group 50 plus had dropped by 3,500 and the total of young jobless by 1,500. ■
Agreement about green electricity
The Ministers of the People’s Party (ÖVP) Martin Bartenstein (economy/energy) and Josef Pröll (environment) as well as the coalition partner, the Freedom Party (FPÖ), reached an agreement on the planned amendment of the Eco-Electricity Act on 7 October 2004. The aim of the reform is to boost the share of electricity from various renewable energy sources (without small hydroelectric installations) from 4% in the year 2005 to 7% in 2010.
The amendment will make available subsidies of annually 17 million euro for new plants in the aforementioned period. Currently, feed-in tariffs are guaranteed to plant operators for a period of 13 years. In the future a full guarantee will be granted only for 10 years. In the 11th and 12th year the price guarantee will be reduced to 75% and 50%, respectively. This corresponds to 11.25 full years. The respective subsidy amounts will be laid down by ordinance by Energie Control Kommission (ECK). According to a new provision, subsidies for wind power plants (but not for larger biogas and biomass plants, as originally planned) will be subject to tendering procedures. All other eco-electricity plants are granted financial aid on a first-come, first-serve basis. In addition to a fixed cost limit the law will introduce efficiency criteria. There are no changes for existing plants licensed until the end of 2005 and erected before mid-2006.
As those responsible explained, the financial resources becoming available will be distributed as follows: 40% to biomass plants, 30% to biogas plants, 20% to wind power, 5% to photovoltaic power and 5% to other types of eco-electricity. A new volume of subsidies of 1.2 billion euro is guaranteed until 2010, which will be distributed until 2022. ■
Domestic congress tourism is booming – Vienna is global leader
Congress tourism in Austria continues its success story – with an annual total of 4.1 million hotel nights and sales of about 1.1 billion euro (accounting for 7% of the total sales in domestic tourism). Sales resulting from congresses and meetings are expected to increase by 10% p.a. this year and in 2005, predicted President of the umbrella association for congress tourism ACB Rudolf Kadanka at a press conference of Österreich Werbung (ÖW) on 4 October 2004 held in the framework of the opening of the congress tourism fair “Access“.
“Boasting the highest value-added, congress tourism is the royal discipline of tourism“, stressed Kadanka. The advantages Austria offered as a congress location were security, political stability, convenient transport connections, a cultural offer as well as the professionalism and quality of the hotels and other tourist services providers, emphasised also ÖW chief Artur Oberascher. He added that congress tourism was of “crucial significance” for Austria, especially since it opened up new sales opportunities for tourism, was a non-seasonal all-year-round theme and a “chance to present Austria as a business location“.
In a ranking of the Union of International Associations (UIA) Austria was placed ninth in international congress tourism in 2003. The USA was leading before France and Germany. In 2003, the “city of congresses” Vienna – together with Geneva – was ranked second in the world, behind Paris but before Brussels and London. ■
Royal Swedish Academy: Nobel Prize to Elfriede Jelinek
“She is an author who shatters the convictions of her readers with anger and passion“. With this statement the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences explained its decision to award the Nobel Prize in Literature to the Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek, 57. Above all, she had criticised “Austria’s consumer society, which has not faced up to its own past“. Jelinek’s prose was as unique as her dramas. The author is best known for her novel “The Piano Teacher”, filmed by director Michael Haneke. This film earned Haneke the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001, and the prizes for the best actors went to Isabelle Huppert and Benoit Magimel. In her famous text Jelinek described how internalised patriarchal structures destroy the life and relations of the piano teacher Erika Kohut.
With this decision of the Royal Swedish Academy on 7 October 2004, the Nobel Prize in Literature went for the first time to an Austrian author. Bertha von Suttner received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1905, Elias Canetti became a Nobel Prize Laureate in 1981, when he was already a British citizen. Elfriede Jelinek is only the tenth female author to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in the history of this award.
In a first reaction, Jelinek said she did not want to attend the Nobel Prize award ceremony. “Of course, I am also happy about it, there is no point in denying it, but basically I feel more despair than joy“, she stated. The prize was also a burden: “I am not the right person to be dragged before the public“. Jelinek added: “I hope that I can enjoy the money that goes with the Prize for this will allow me a carefree living”. The world’s most prestigious award is endowed with 10 million Swedish crowns (1.1 million euro).
Among Jelinek’s most important works are “Women as Lovers”, in which two female factory workers imitate the patterns of trashy romances and experience how they become objects themselves. Her grotesque anti-pornographic novel “Lust” caused quite a stir. The novel “Die Kinder der Toten“, an antithesis to the traditional sentimental novel against the background of the “fatherland” and her opus magnum, pinpoints the Austrian population’s failure to confront its Nazi past. “Ein Sportstück“ spotlights sports mania.
Federal President Heinz Fischer said in a first reaction that with the Nobel Prize Jelinek’s “literary oeuvre has won the world’s highest distinction in the field of literature“.
Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, who was attending a summit meeting of the European and Asian heads of state and government in Vietnam when the selection of the Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature was announced, congratulated the great author and stated inter alia: “Tribute had already been paid to a specifically Austrian way of using the German language when Elias Canetti won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Austria is also the linguistic breeding-ground of Elfriede Jelinek, the homeland which she often experienced in a sorrowful way and criticised so harshly. The high distinction granted by Stockholm should and must not take the sting out of her criticism. Elfriede Jelinek is continuously digging for the roots of our Austrian history, but also investigates the reasons of recent disasters like that in Kaprun (alluding to her play “Das Werk“). As a reader one constantly discovers an Austria different from that one thinks to know. She has always been bothersome, radical, sparing the public no pains. She causes irritation, and there has to be room for that in culture“. With her play “Was geschah nachdem Nora ihren Mann verlassen hatte“ (1979) she became a chief protagonist of feminism. “Since then she has found ever more accurate, differentiated approaches to the causes of female suffering“. The Chancellor about her style: “Her prose is flowing melodiously, this musicality is based on an established Austrian tradition, which she continues with her specific literary art“.
Secretary of State for the Arts Franz Morak, who conveyed the congratulations of the Federal Chancellor, stated: “In her linguistic works of art, Jelinek presents a mirror to Austria, which one probably does not enjoy looking into but that has become indispensable for our social and political life“.
EU Commissioner for Culture Reding said inter alia: “It is not only a great honour for Austria but for all of Europe. I have observed her commitment to women’s affairs and a better society with great interest and have always appreciated the language in her novels.“ ■
Prizes: Austrian State Prize for European Literature to Barnes
At the Frankfurt Book Fair Secretary of State for the Arts Franz Morak announced the winners of the 2004 literature prizes awarded by the Republic of Austria. The State Prize for European Literature went to the British author Julian Barnes born in 1946 (“Flaubert’s Parrot“). The international scholar was “a versatile novelist and elegant stylist, with the talent of telling stories in an effortless, entertaining and witty way“, said Morak.
The State Prize for Cultural Journalism was presented to journalist and historian Peter Huemer, whom Morak praised as somebody “enlightening the people in the truest sense of the word“ and “setting new standards in journalism”.
The Honorary Award for Literature was granted to Christoph Ransmayr, “a fascinating narrative writer, who enthused a wide readership with his novels and whose works were translated into more than two dozens of languages“. Ransmayr has received numerous awards in the past, the most recent being the Bertolt Brecht Literature Prize of the City of Augsburg. He became famous for the novel about the Payer-Weyprecht North Pole expedition “The Terrors of Ice and Darkness“. For his novel “The Dog King“ he received the Aristeion Literature Prize of the European Union in 1996.
The Prize Promoting Literature goes to Kathrin Röggla (“Abrauschen“), who is “one of the most interesting voices of the new Austrian literature“ and to Norbert Silberbauer (“Die elf Gebote“), a “versatile author, who is completely at home on the stage and with drama as well as with prose and poetry“, stated Morak. ■
Themes of the Jubilee Year 2005
In Austria the year 2005 is a Jubilee Year with numerous themes, symposiums and exhibitions. The Jubilee Year is officially inaugurated with a festive event in the Austrian Parliament on 14 January 2005. Another celebration will be held at Belvedre Palace on 15 May 2005 to commemorate “50 Years State Treaty“, in which also the foreign ministers of the signatory states USA, Great Britain, France and Russia will participate. The Austrian Gallery at Belvedere will show the large-scale exhibition “The New Austria“ from 16 May to 1 November 2005. At Palais Porcia the Austrian State Archives will present the show “60 Years Second Republic of Austria. From reconstruction to the European Union“ (14 March to 1 July 2005). The State Hall of Austria’s National Library will host from 28 April to 27 October the exhibition “The Young Republic. Every-day pictures from Austria between 1945 and 1955“. The Austrian Media Library offers the Internet exhibition “staatsvertrag.at“, which will be online from April onwards. The Museum of Military History dedicates a touring exhibition to the subject “50 Years Federal Army“.
Traditional commemorative events at memorials in the former concentration camps and in Vienna dedicated to 7/8 May form part of remembrance. Literary and theatre programmes dealing with subjects like persecution, exile, mass murder and atonement will be offered throughout 2005.
The Jewish Museum describes the exhibition “Jetzt ist er bös, der Tennenbaum“ as an “experiment about the Second Republic and its Jews“, running from 20 April to 4 June 2005.
Numerous jubilee activities will be staged by Film Archives Austria. The Film Archives present in May and June on open-air screens at the historic and epoch-making Viennese squares Heldenplatz and Schwarzenbergplatz: “1945 – 1955 – 1995. The Second Republic in Newsreels“. A retrospective of feature films 1946 to 1955 will be offered between May and June at Vienna’s Metro-Kino. In April and May 2005 Augarten Flakturm will present an exhibition and film installations titled “1945 – 1955: Austria’s Audiovisual Memory“.
In Salzburg an exhibition will be dedicated to “Austrian Photography from 1945 to 2005“ at Museum der Moderne in autumn 2005.
“Analyses of Conditions“ is the title of a “MAK NITE special” in ten sequences at the Museum for Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna on ten Tuesdays from May to October.
The “10th anniversary of Austria’s EU accession“ will be in the limelight of the “European Congress“ at Vienna’s Hofburg from 25 to 27 February. It will address the future prospects of the EU. The event will be rounded off by a morning performance at Vienna’s Burgtheater spotlighting the democratic perspectives of Europe.
An educational project is dedicated to oral history“: pupils aged 6 to 18 years investigate every-day and modern history in the framework of a photo and writing competition titled “Austria Album 1955“. A “Quiz about Austria“ focusing on the history and consequences of the Austrian State Treaty is geared to schools.
Austria’s cultural festival abroad in September 2005 will be dedicated to exploring questions and answers regarding the subject “Austria in the 3rd millennium. Image and Identity“.
In commemoration of “Bertha von Suttner – 100th anniversary of the Peace Nobel Prize“ a touring exhibition committed to “Austria’s peace policy in the 21st century“ will be shown in all states with Peace Nobel Prize Laureates.
The office of the Secretary of State for the Arts Franz Morak pulls the strings of all activities of the Jubilee Year. As Morak told the daily “Wiener Zeitung” he wished that by the end of 2004 “we should know more about ourselves – and also realise that we live in a country worth living in. And that this self-assurance will also allow us to meet future challenges“. The value of jubilees of this kind was in fact that they served as a “springboard to the future”. ■
Los Angeles: 10 years MAK Center
In 1994 Peter Noever, director of Vienna’s Museum for Applied Arts (MAK), founded the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles. Over the past 10 years it developed into a hotspot of the artistic avant-garde in the city’s cultural life mirroring current trends, for example in architecture, design and urbanism. 200 guests, among them Secretary of State for the Arts Franz Morak, architect Thom Mayne and Peter Noever, participated in the public birthday party ushering in the one-year anniversary programme. The MAK Center’s avant-garde programme has a very special setting: the Viennese architect Rudolph M. Schindler, who was a disciple of Otto Wagner and later emigrated to the USA, had erected the building for two families in 1921/22, which also accommodated his studio. This autumn the MAK Center offers a new series of events titled “Discussions in the Garden“, in which authors and activists like Laura Flanders, Tom Hayden and Gary Indiana will participate. The extravagant fashion show “SHOWDOWN! At the Schindler House“ will certainly find an interested audience.
The MAK Center is managed by MAK Vienna in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture as well as the Department for Arts of the Austrian Federal Chancellery. ■
Chancellor Schüssel at the opening of the Gironcoli Museum
A museum for the oeuvre of the metal sculptor Bruno Gironcoli, 68, born in Carinthia, was opened in the park of Herberstein Palace (Styria) on 26 September 2004. Architect Hermann Eisenköck built a structure from glass, steel and synthetic material adjoining the threshing barn dating back to 1594. On a surface of 2,000 square metres about 30 of the voluminous and fascinating technology-critical monsters of the artist will be presented. Tribute was paid to them by the festive speakers, i.e. Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, Secretary of State for the Arts Franz Morak and Styria’s Governor Waltraud Klasnic, who drew attention to the fact that with this project the idea “arts to the countryside” has also been realised. As Morak stressed, today there was no “province” lagging behind urban centres; provincialism could be found only in the minds of people. ■
Cultural agreement between Austria and Croatia signed
“The close relations and intensive cultural exchange between Austria and Croatia should be continued and consolidated“, said Secretary of State for the Arts Franz Morak on the occasion of the conclusion of a cultural agreement between Austria and Croatia in Vienna, which was signed by him and Croatian Minister of Culture Bozo Biskupic. In this context an exhibition of the Croatian artist Edo Murtic was opened at Palais Harrach. The agreement will enter into force on 1 December 2004 and provide a five-year framework for cooperation in culture, education, science and research in the form of various cooperative projects and exchange programmes. ■
Athens: Austrian athletes impressing at Paralympics
From 17 to 28 September 2004 the XII. Paralympic Games were held in Athens. For Austria these games were the most successful Summer Paralympics ever. All expectations have been exceeded as Austria’s disabled athletes won 8 gold, 11 silver and 4 bronze medals. With this sensational performance, Austria is placed 20th in the ranking of nations.
Clutching 23 medals, the successful team was welcomed on return by Minister for Social Affairs Herbert Haupt, Secretary of State for Sports Karl Schweitzer and Director General of the General Accident Insurance Institution (AUVA) Helmut Pichler. Also host Thomas Kleibl, Managing Director of the Austrian Airlines group, and President of the Austrian Olympic Committee (ÖOC) Leo Wallner were present. The Austrian athletes won the following medals:
GOLD: Wolfgang EIBECK (cycling – road/time trial), Christoph ETZLSTORFER (handbike – time trial), Stanislaw FRACZYK (table tennis - single), Thomas GEIERSPICHLER (1,500m), Bil MARINKOVIC (Javelin throw and world record), Johann MAYRHOFER (handbike - road race), Andrea SCHERNEY (long jump and WR), Georg TISCHLER (shot put and WR)
SILVER: Hubert AUFSCHNAITER (sport pistol 25m), Wolfgang DABERNIG (cycling – road/time trial), Wolfgang DUBIN (shot put), Wolfgang EIBECK (cycling – 4,000m pursuit track), Stanislaw FRACZYK and Rene GUTDEUTSCH (table tennis - team), Thomas GEIERSPICHLER (800m, 5,000m, marathon), Johann MAYRHOFER (handbike – time trial), Willibald MONSCHEIN (shot put), Rene SCHWARZ (shot put)
BRONZE: Christoph ETZLSTORFER (hand-bike/road race), Dennis WLISZCZAK (high jump), Thomas GEIERSPICHLER (400m), Hubert AUFSCHNAITER (air pistol 10m).
“Compared to the years before 2003, promotion schemes for disability sport have undergone a significant change. Far-reaching and effective measures have been taken to create optimal framework conditions for the athletes”, stressed Schweitzer. Since 2003 out of the special federal budget earmarked for the promotion of sport, the Austrian Association for Disability Sport (ÖBV) has received about 530,000 euro annually, the Paralympic Committee about 38,000 euro annually and the Special Olympics approx. 38,000 euro. Last but not least, the Disability Sport Fund has been endowed with roughly 2 million euro since 2003. To ensure optimal preparations for the 2004 Paralympics, an additional amount of 120,000 euro (equally distributed among 16 athletes) was made available in 2003. “The foundation for the best-ever performance has been laid by enshrining the promotion of disability sport in the law and thus granting paralympic athletes the same status as other athletes, Schweitzer was pleased to state. ■
Go-ahead for ISAF World Sailing Games 2006
On 29 September 2004 a subsidy agreement was signed between the federal government, Burgenland’s regional government, the Austrian Sailing Association and ISAF World Sailing Games 2006 Durchführungs GesmbH. This top event will take place at the regatta bases Neusiedl, Weiden, Podersorf, Breitenbrunn and Rust (Burgenland) from 8 to 20 May 2006. With 900 active athletes from about 80 nations, it will be a highlight in sailing. The Secretary of State for Sports underlined the athletic and organisational achievements, Governor Niessl emphasised that this was an opportunity for Lake Neusiedl to position itself as a “sports lake” in Central Europe. ISAF Sport Director Jerome Pels praised the preparations, above all the envisaged cooperation with the associations of the CENTROPE region, i.e. the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. After the outstanding performance of Austria’s sailing team at the Olympic Games in Athens this is another challenge to the Sailing Association. ■