26 junio, 2014
Interview to Austrian Embassy Official Worker
On Monday, 23rd June I had the pleasure to meet one of the official workers of the Austrian Embassy headquartered in Madrid, Susanne Escobar. She kindly answered to all my questions proposed but as a consequence of her job, she couldn’t go deeper to the topics. We talked about Austrian perspective as a member of the European Union and as a native Austrian she is married with a Spanish man, so she can understand and analyze both points of view.
To start with the interview, as a worker of the Austrian embassy I asked her what main functions they carry out here in Spain. She explained me that the main functions are of different fields (economic, political and institutional) – bilateral relations between both countries within the EU- and on the other hand, they offer all kind of services to Austrian citizens living in Spain (consulates, visas…). It also includes a cultural forum in charge of intercultural exchanges between Austria and Spain. “Relations are excellent right now in all areas” Susanne admitted following, “Austria’s interests are very diverse- from political and economic to touristic and cultural- we are satisfied with current situations”. Good news for Spain after seeing that our neighbors from the North still trust in Spain and the services it offers.
Moving towards to the topic that involves the European Union, she confirmed that Austria has suffered the economic crisis’ effects as the rest of the members, facing huge economic losses specially in the building sector since many Austrian companies have partnerships with the Spanish ones and due to the “booming housing” they lost thousands of jobs in that sector. Nowadays the situation seems to be more stable earning high state benefits and society getting back those jobs. She confessed that the current economic situation of Spain, and the still high rate of youth unemployment, is critical, as Spain is “one of the important countries for the common economy recovery”. Young people leaving Spain in order to work abroad doesn’t necessary mean something bad, as the fact that getting new skills and knowledge in other countries is a very enriching experience for them, the negative part of that (from her point of view) is that Spain is losing those qualified workforce and we don’t know how many of them will come back in a future in order to use what they have learnt outside and so, enrich as well the country’s economy.
Regarding to the last and remarkable results in the European Elections, the case of Austria hasn’t been different from the rest, although it wasn’t so alarming, the right and extreme right parties have increased both their seats in the parliament. She said that sincerely, the results were not surprising; the country was already expecting those results and the rise of Eurosceptic parties in there and hasn’t been inevitable. Moreover, Austrian population is attentive and follows constantly what happens over there, as a country located in the core of the Union. They are very interested in immigration policies and European foreign affairs, such as Ukrainian crisis. Finally, as a conclusion, I wanted to know which her perspective towards the future of Europe is. She expressed her positivism regarding the future of Europe as a whole: “ the crisis and dangers that we are facing now must only help us to understand that we can just resist external threats if we remain together, preserving our democratic systems, freedoms and our citizens welfare. In this way we’ll be able to improve and develop for the best”, Susanne Escobar.