New FES office in Vienna: Peace dialogue in turbulent times

The former Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer was among the guest at the opening of the FES office, organised by Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue. The discussion centred around the topic "Détente in Small Steps – Towards a Stable Security Situation in Europe". Prior to this, the delegation of the FES Chairman Kurt Beck was received by the Federal Chancellor of Austria Christian Kern. With its new office in Vienna, FES is launching the regional project "Cooperation and Peace in Europe".

On the occasion of the opening of the Vienna office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung on 7 March 2017, a conversation with the Head of the office Dr. Reinhard Krumm.

Why did FES open an office in Vienna dedicated to the regional project “Cooperation and Peace in Europe”?

The relationship between the European Union and Russia has deteriorated considerably since the annexation of Crimea and the military clashes in Eastern Ukraine. The security of Europe, which so far has been based on the CSCE Final Act (1975) and the ensuing Paris Charter (1990), was called into question. Against this backdrop the main goal of the office in Vienna and the regional project is to contribute to the renewal of a constructive dialogue about closer cooperation between Russia and "the West", specifically Germany, the European Union and the USA.

How exactly can this occur?

What are the long-term goals of the project? Based in Vienna, we will discuss the peace and security challenges 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union with representatives from Russia and its neighbors, as well as the EU and the USA. The long-term goal of the project is to initiate European dialogues to address and attune the peace and security views of Russia, the countries of Eastern Europe and the EU.

How does the host country Austria evaluate the initiative of FES in Vienna?

Both the Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and the Secretary General of the OSCE Lamberto Zannier have welcomed the important initiative of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in conversation with the FES Chairman Kurt Beck. All the more, as the importance of collective security was significantly strengthened through the OSCE Chairmanship of Germany in 2016 and of Austria this year. In this spirit the former President of Austria Heinz Fischer appreciated the Regional Office of FES in Vienna as "stroke of luck" for Austria.