Austria to close embassies in Baltics

As part of cutting expenses, Austria is planning to close its embassies in the Baltic states and Malta by fall 2018, as stated in an announcement by Sebastian Kurz, Austria's minister of foreign affairs.

Kurz stated that although the embassies will be closed, there are plans to open up embassies in other strategically important places. Ambassadors to these countries will be relocated to nearby countries, for example, Stockholm in the case of the Baltics.

The minister explained that Austria is already well represented in the Baltic states in terms of consular assistance and economic cooperation. He denied that the embassy closure is related to ongoing issues such as the crisis in Ukraine or refugee problems in the EU.

Kurz stated that there are plans to open Austrian embassies in Belarus, Moldova and Georgia. 

"I think that the Russian threat to Georgia is much more grave. We focus on the countries that have particularly tense relationships with Russia," said Kurz. He added that the Baltic states are already represented in the European Union and NATO.

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