Ambassador Karl Müller on his experiences
Over a cup of coffee, we had the opportunity to talk with the Ambassador of Austria to Montenegro, Karl Müller, and learn that he entered diplomacy from the field of law. After thirty years of engaging in legal studies, he joined his country’s Foreign Ministry. His first destination was Africa, where he supported the United Nations programmes.
He also served his country as the Ambassador to Slovenia and Bulgaria. He was part of the team that prepared Austria’s first presidency of the European Union in 1997, which took place the following year. In that role, he coordinated cooperation between various ministries and continued to do so until 2015. He says that his diplomatic skills were crucial in ensuring smooth functioning without obstacles. After eighteen years of service “at home,” he served as an Ambassador in Cyprus. The next Austrian presidency brought him to Brussels before he arrived in Montenegro.
Ambassador Müller stated that Austria has made significant efforts to join the European Union.
Accession negotiations are interest negotiations, and it is not easy to reconcile the interests of so many actors, he explained. That’s why, he adds, it is essential to have people and countries that are close to the countries seeking to join because not everyone may be supportive on that path. The assistance of friends can be crucial.
As Müller mentioned, joining the European Union helped Austria resolve most of its problems with neighbouring countries. Austria shares borders with eight states, and European cross-border cooperation programmes contributed to better understanding among them, which ultimately led to problem-solving. For Montenegro, a country with five neighbours, he suggests maximising the benefits provided by those programmes.
Austria can also support Montenegro in agriculture and science, as well as in utilising European Union funds for the development of these sectors.
Austria supports the EU enlargement and advocates for finding mechanisms that ensure that “small” countries are equal in this community, Ambassador Müller emphasised. Austria supports the association of smaller EU members gathered around common values and interests, giving significance to specific initiatives that are in the interest of all.
Passionate about swimming, history, culture, architecture, and travel, his message to everyone is to be active and politically active to some extent. He believes that people often have to fight for things that affect their lives, so he considers it important not to leave politics solely to politicians. Everyone should get involved to the extent they feel responsible for a particular problem, Müller advises.
He urges people to visit his country. Austria has history, art, and natural beauties known to all.
Part of the country’s cultural heritage below the Alps was presented by the musical virtuoso Jakob Steinkellner through the sounds of the Styrian harmonica and the accordion.
“Coffee with Ambassadors” is the name of the activity through which Europe House opens its doors to citizens to meet with representatives of EU member states in Montenegro and learn more about their countries through open dialogue.