Vienna , 23 April 2012 Fekter meets British Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne

On Monday, 23 April 2012, Austrian Finance Minister Dr Maria Fekter met her British counterpart, George Osborne, in London. "We discussed the candidates for the presidency of the east-European bank, the EBRD, the EU budget and the banking agreement Basel III, setting out the respective positions taken by our countries," declared Fekter. The Austrian Finance Minister will chair the Board of Governors at the upcoming annual conference of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in May. In total, five candidates are standing for the presidency of the EBRD. "The British have been campaigning for Suma Chakrabarti, their candidate of choice. On the Austrian side, there exists a clear preference for those candidates who particularly represent eastern and south-eastern Europe," stressed Fekter, without specifying a name.

A further topic of the meeting consisted of growth and budget consolidation. "In the UK, the top rate of tax and corporation tax have been cut in order to boost growth. Something which is being discussed in Austria in entirely the reverse direction," added Fekter.

"There exist clear differences between our two countries as regards the topic of Basel III," stressed the Austrian Finance Minister. "In the UK, the major investment banks are based at home. Our domestic banks on the other hand are pursuing a somewhat conservative business model and have to ensure that they are not squeezed out," she warned.

"However, we have similar interests in matters of the EU budget, because both the UK and Austria are net payers, and thus our two countries would be equally affected by the significant increases in the budget statement for 2013," explained Fekter. "This would have direct effects on the medium-term expenditure framework up to 2020. In view of the numerous austerity packages, such increases could scarcely be justified from a political point of view," she concluded.