Friday morning marked the start of the Austrian visit by the president of Poland, Andrzej Duda. In the courtyard of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, the ceremonial welcome ceremony with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen took place. The presidents spoke on bilateral relations, security, and Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Photo: PAP/Andrzej Lange
President Andrzej Duda made a plea for more assistance for Ukraine in its struggle against the invading Russians during the joint press conference. Additionally, he expressed gratitude to the Austrian government for providing humanitarian help to Ukraine and emphasized the need of supplying the required tools, such as helmets and bulletproof vests for Ukrainian forces.
“International law must be given priority once again. The Russian military must leave the territories they have captured and give them back to Ukraine. This is a prerequisite for peace in the upcoming years. The European Union needs to be united. We anticipate that all disagreements will be settled quickly,” Duda stated.
He stated that he discussed measures to end the conflict in Ukraine with the president of Austria. Politicians talked about imposing more economic restrictions that would restrict money transfers and make doing business with Russia more challenging.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, Polish-Austrian economic links, and bilateral cooperation, according to Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, were the main subjects of discussion with Duda.
“I am really happy that our bilateral connections in all aspects—not just economic but also political and cultural—are expanding so nicely”, Van der Bellen remarked.
He added that Poland is “particularly affected by this war” in relation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The president of Austria praised Poland’s extensive military, civilian, and humanitarian support for Ukraine as “admirable”.
“As the Union, we should unite and stand in solidarity with a Ukraine that is independent. We also had the same viewpoint on this, Van der Bellen said.
He said he will continue the conversation about EU enlargement and emphasized how strongly Austria supports the EU’s inclusion of the nations of the Western Balkans.
“It is good that Moldova and Ukraine want to join the EU. On their paths into the EU, we will support both of these nations”, he said.
Van van Belen noted that they also discussed the rule of law during their talk with Duda. “We know that we have some very sensitive topics here. We are aware that the European Commission is responsible for preserving fundamental European values. We must see to it that the dispute between Poland and the European Commission is settled in some way as soon as feasible,” he said.
He claims that the discussion included collaboration on memory policy as well as the excellent economic ties between Poland and Austria. The president of Austria stated that he discussed the last stage of shaping the memorial site at the former concentration camp Gusen with Andrzej Duda.
“Without any taboos, we Austrians want to and will make amends with our past. Of course, this also applies to the countless numbers of Polish victims of Nazi terror in Gusen. It is in Austria’s best interest that this be a cause for commemoration, and we will work with Poland on this, he insisted.
The politicians also discussed the expansion of bilateral ties, the improvement of the rail and road networks in the Three Seas region, and historical topics like the commemoration of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp victims and the 340th anniversary of the Battle of Vienna.
Chancellor Karl Nehammer of Austria and Wolfgang Sobotka, the head of the National Council of the Republic of Austria, will also meet with President Duda.
The meeting between the Polish president and Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will mark the culmination of the visit to Vienna.