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CS starts visit to Europe (with photos)

     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, visited Vienna, the capital of Austria, on May 18 and 19 (Vienna time) to begin her six-day visit to Europe.

     During her two-day stay in Vienna, she visited a number of world-renowned cultural institutions, including the boarding school of the Vienna Boys Choir, the Essl Museum and MuseumsQuartier Wein, to understand their operation and identify room for collaboration.

     At the invitation of the President and Artistic Director of the Vienna Boys Choir, Mr Gerald Wirth, who was recently in Hong Kong to explore opportunities for more collaboration, Mrs Lam visited the boarding school of the Vienna Boys Choir after attending a performance by the Choir to learn about the training offered by this prestigious institution and the life of the students studying there.

     She then visited the Essl Museum, which has one of the largest and most significant private collections of international contemporary art in Europe, and met with the owner of the museum, Professor Karlheinz Essl. She also visited MuseumsQuartier Wien, one of the largest art and cultural complexes in the world, to learn about its experience in the management of cultural facilities.

     "The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is sparing no effort in developing Hong Kong as a regional cultural hub. In terms of hardware, we are pressing ahead with the West Kowloon Cultural District project, which includes M+ which is scheduled for completion in 2017. M+ will present the world's most important collection of visual culture in different forms from Hong Kong and the Mainland of China. As regards software, we will continue to build our audience and promote the development of our local performance groups. All this presents a wealth of opportunities for collaboration between the cultural sectors in Hong Kong and Austria," Mrs Lam told cultural leaders she met during the visit.

     To promote bilateral links, Mrs Lam met with various senior officials during her stay in Vienna. She had a meeting with the Federal Minister for Arts and Culture, Constitution and Public Service, Mr Josef Ostermayer, to explore opportunities for cultural co-operation between Hong Kong and Austria, including the possibility of signing a memorandum of understanding on cultural co-operation. She also met with the Secretary General of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, Dr Michael Linhart, to promote bilateral relations.

     At the meeting, Dr Linhart noted that Austria and Hong Kong have been enjoying very good bilateral relations throughout the past decades. He said that he sees good potential in strengthening ties in areas such as working holiday schemes, co-operation in wine business and mutual legal assistance, which are areas being discussed at working levels between the two sides. Mrs Lam responded that she looks forward to achieving concrete results in these areas and receiving a high-level delegation from the Austrian Federal Government in future.

     She called on the Mayor of the City of Vienna, Mr Michael Häupl, to learn from the experience of Vienna in its smart city initiatives and exchange ideas on ways to enhance the quality of life of citizens. Vienna has been rated as one of the most liveable cities in the world in different international surveys.

     To update Austrian business leaders on investment and business opportunities in Hong Kong, Mrs Lam attended a roundtable lunch organised by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. Over lunch, she spoke on the advantages of doing business in Hong Kong and using Hong Kong as a platform to enter the Mainland Chinese market, as well as the opportunities for Austrian businesses in Hong Kong especially in the areas of infrastructure, technology and creative industries.

     Mrs Lam and the delegation also attended a dinner hosted by the Chinese Ambassador to Austria, Mr Zhao Bin.

     The Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union, Ms Linda Lai, and the Director-General of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Berlin, Mr Ivan Lee, accompanied Mrs Lam during the visit.

     Mrs Lam departed for Berlin in the evening of May 19 (Vienna time).

Ends/Monday, May 19, 2014
Issued at HKT 23:22


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