The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today announced that she will travel to The Hague, Madrid, Barcelona, Vienna and Bratislava from June 25 to 30, 2012, to strengthen consular cooperation and share best practices, and to promote Canada’s engagement in the Americas.
“Consular affairs are a growing part of our bilateral relationships with the Netherlands, Spain, Austria and Slovakia,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. “It is important that we continue to engage and share best practices with our partners to better assist Canadians travelling abroad.”
While in The Hague, the Minister of State will meet with Hans van Loon, the Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), to discuss Canada’s support for the legal framework concerning international child abductions. She will also meet with senior Dutch officials and experts concerning Canada and the Netherlands’ mutual interests in the Americas and the two countries’ cooperation on consular matters. During her visit to Spain, Minister of State Ablonczy will meet with Juan López-Dóriga, Director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, and Fernando Román García, Secretary of State for Justice.
Minister of State Ablonczy will then travel to Barcelona to meet with Senén Florensa i Palau, Catalonia’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Joaquim Forn, First Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, as well as travel-industry representatives. In 2010, 284,200 Canadian tourists visited Spain, up from 225,600 in 2006, a 26-percent increase.
“Spain, and Barcelona in particular, is increasingly popular for Canadian travellers,” Minister of State Ablonczy said. “I look forward to meeting with travel and tourism stakeholders to discuss ways we can work together to encourage safe travel to Spain and to better inform Canadians and manage consular issues when they arise.”
While in Vienna, the Minister of State will meet with Wolfgang Waldner, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and Angelika Liedler-Janoschik, Head of the International Tourism Relations Section in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Family and Youth. Minister of State Ablonczy will also meet with senior officials of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.
During her visit to Slovakia, Minister of State Ablonczy will meet with Robert Kaliňák, Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Peter Burian, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She will also hold a round table with Canadians living and working in Bratislava.
Source: Government of Canada news site