I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 73 together.
The Minister and I welcomed the resignation of the Governor of Carinthia from his position as leader of the Freedom Party as an effort to respond to international criticisms of the inclusion of the Freedom Party in the new Austrian Government. The Austrian Government will be judged on its policies, declarations and actions, and whatever reassurance these will provide will be helpful.
In the meantime, the measures of the 14 as outlined in the statement issued by the Portuguese Presidency on 31 January still apply. The 14 do not promote or accept any ministerial contacts with a government which includes the Freedom Party, there is no support for Austrian candidates seeking positions in international organisations and Austrian ambassadors in EU capitals are received at official but not ministerial level.
The Portuguese Presidency of the EU has agreed to a request from Austrian Federal Chancellor, Wolfgang Schussel, that the matter be raised in the European Council taking place in Lisbon today. While I do not wish to anticipate the outcome of that discussion, the Heads of State and Government will take into account the recent developments in Austria, including the resignation of the Governor of Carinthia from his position as leader of the Freedom Party.
It may be helpful to point out that the measures of the 14 have not touched on the conduct of EU business, the standing of Austria as a member state of the European Union or as a member of other international organisations. On 12 April, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in his capacity as chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, will travel to Vienna to meet his Austrian colleague, Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, in her capacity as chairman in office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to discuss issues of interest to both organisations. Meetings such as these continue as before and are not affected by the measures of the 14.