Austrian President Heinz Fischer delivered a New Year's speech through television on Thursday evening, urging for best efforts to fight against unemployment and to provide minimum guarantee to the poor.
He noted: "The year 2009 is a difficult year in economy." The latest economic forecast shows that the economic growth of Austria may be reduced to a negative 0.5 per cent this year, which is a "serious situation."
President Fischer pointed out that Austria "must make every effort to arrest further decline (of the economy) as soon as possible, and turn it up." He also demanded that "directed measures should be taken in the fields of education and research" so as to strengthen the effects of the government's economic revitalization plans.
He also noted in the New Years speech that during the current economic downturn, fighting poverty is a "moral obligation, "so" minimum guarantee to meet basic needs" should be provided to the poor.
President Fischer believed that "it is possible for Austria to control the impact of this crisis to a certain extent," and hoped the newly formed Austrian grand coalition government will carry out solid cooperation with other opposition parties in the Parliament to fight this crisis.
With regard to European integration, President Fischer said that the positive role of the European Union in overcoming this financial crisis would further promote cooperation in Europe.