The European Commission has appointed Mr. Richard Kuehnel as Head of Representation in Austria, with effect from 1st September 2008.
Mr. Kuehnel currently serves as a Member of Cabinet of External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner i. He deals with democracy building, human rights and human security, and is in charge of multilateral relations with the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and the G8. In addition, his Cabinet responsibilities are communication policy, transparency and public diplomacy, as well as relations with national authorities, stakeholders and media.
Mr. Kuehnel has a long standing and varied career at international level, both inside and outside the Commission. He has served in the Austrian diplomatic service in various posts in Vienna and abroad. He has negotiated agreements with partner countries as well as with international organisations. He has studied law at the university of Graz, and did postgraduate research in Lyon, Florence and Princeton. His communication skills and experience will be of great service to the Commission in its work in Austria.
Representations, which are managed by DG Communication, are the official voice of the European Commission in the Member states. They have a mandate to explain policies of the European Union and to make Europe more understandable to citizens.
They provide information about the EU to governments and civil society, reaching out to all communities within each Member State. Their responsibilities also include the analysis and reporting to the Commission on policies and trends in public opinion in the country concerned.