Dear Readers of “Austrian Information,”
It is a privilege for me to have been appointed as new Austrian Ambassador to the United States of America, and it is an honor to serve my country in this capacity in the coming years. I have spent eleven years of my professional life in the United States, having served at the Austrian Embassy from 1981 to 1988 and as Austrian Consul General in Los Angeles from 1991 to 1995.
Ties between Austria and the United States have been distinguished by a traditionally warm and friendly relationship. Austria commemorates with gratitude the significant economic aid offered by the United States following World War II. Today Austria is proud to consider the U.S. as one of her major trading partners. In addition, academic centers of Austrian studies throughout the U.S., international summer schools and reciprocal programs for academics as well as professionals continue to provide an excellent basis for fostering greater transatlantic exchange with the U.S.
The next few years will be crucial to the development of transatlantic relations. Following the European Parliament elections in June, the European Union faces a time of transition with a new commission to be appointed soon. We hope that the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty will pave the way for a more effective common foreign policy and reinforce our ability to be an effective partner to the United States. The U.S. and Europe share the same values and must stand together to defend those values and to promote democracy, freedom and human rights.
The present financial and economic crises show that in a globalized economy no country can act alone and that we are all dependent on each other. As an active member of the U.N. and the International Community, Austria is serving for the third time as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council for the years 2009/10. In this capacity, Austria is committed to being a trusted partner, particularly in the struggle for the rule of law, the peaceful resolution of conflicts, conflict prevention, disarmament and non-proliferation. We are looking forward to closely cooperating with the USA in all of these areas.
The friendship between the American and the Austrian people has a long tradition. For over two centuries, many Austrians have come to the United States looking for new opportunities. Others came as refugees from religious or political persecution. All of them were well received and absorbed into the mainstream of American society which they have enriched with their heritage. Many have made major contributions to culture, science and business.
As Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to the United States of America my objective is to foster the relationship between our two governments and to deepen the close ties of friendship between the Austrian and American people. By reaching out to the Austrian community and the friends of Austria and, with your help, I hope to achieve these goals. I am grateful for all the support that you can give me in this endeavor.
Dr. Christian Prosl has been Ambassador of Austria to the United States in Washington, DC since May 2009. From 2003-2006 he served as Austrian Ambassador to Germany. Prosl studied Law and French at the University of Vienna and pursued International Studies in Geneva. He has been accredited as translator for French. From 1973 to 1977 he was working at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Burkina Faso and Rwanda. After joining the Foreign Service in 1977 he was assigned to the Austrian Embassy in London, and from 1981-1988 Dr. Prosl held several positions at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC. From 1991-1955 he served as Austrian Consul General in Los Angeles. His political career also includes serving as Deputy Secretary General for Foreign Affairs, Director of the Department on Western and Northern Europe and Director General of the Section on Legal and Consular Affairs at the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.