Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) met with his new British counterpart David Cameron in London on Monday. The focus of the content was the situation in the Middle East and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The “Common Vision Agreement”, which envisages increasing information exchange, close coordination of foreign policy priorities and cooperation in the multilateral field, was also signed.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vienna, this will elevate relations with the UK to the level of strategic partnership. Schallenberg said, “Brexit has created huge gaps in our relations in political, economic and humanitarian terms. Previous agreements have only partially filled these gaps. With today’s agreement, we are putting Austrian-British relations on a new foundation after Brexit.” until the meeting.
The Foreign Secretary later told ORF: “There has been a 60 percent increase in Austrian direct investments in Great Britain over the last decade, with 160 Austrian companies based here. But it is clear that there is still room for improvement.” Schallenberg sees opportunities for greater cooperation with Great Britain in the field of security. “Austria and Great Britain have common interests in security, stability and prosperity in the European neighborhood. Even though they are no longer in the European Union, they are still a strategic partner,” Schallenberg said.
Another focus of the talks was combating antisemitism, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vienna. “When the walls of houses are smeared with ‘Jewish stars’ and barriers are eliminated, we cannot limit ourselves to expressions of solidarity alone. We need concrete cooperation with European and international partners to effectively combat the scourge of anti-Semitism, both homemade and imported,” Schallenberg explained in advance .
Former Conservative Prime Minister Cameron made a surprising return to the forefront of British politics just a few days ago. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. Cameron resigned following the Brexit referendum, during which he campaigned for his country to remain in the European Union. Current British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unexpectedly brought the 57-year-old, who is part of the moderate wing of the Conservative Party, into his government as Foreign Minister on November 13 as part of a cabinet reshuffle.
Cameron’s first trip abroad as foreign secretary was to Kiev last Thursday, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.