EU’s Juncker endorses Austrian Kurz’s government programme

EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

New Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the leader of the Austrian Peoples Party (OeVP) (L), European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (R) and EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn (not seen) give a press conference after their meeting at the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 19 December 2017.

EU’s Juncker endorses Austrian Kurz’s government programme


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“I would like to emphasize that Austria is a pro-European country that wants to actively participate in the EU,” the new Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said after his first meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday evening in Brussels, a day after he formed his government in Vienna.

Kurz’s conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) has entered into a coalition with the right-wing populist and xenophobic FPÖ in Austria. Asked if he accepted the relocation, Kurz said, “Of course we accept the relocation decision. But relocation alone cannot be the answer to finding a solution to the migration crisis. We have to secure the external borders and decide who is allowed to enter Europe. That should not be decided by others “. In short: “Only if we can stop the illegal migration will a Europe without borders continue to be self-evident”.

Juncker said confidently with a view to future cooperation. “We treat the Austrian government as any government, we judge the government work when it is underway,” he said. “I refuse to make any prejudices.”

“What’s written down in the government program fits us almost 100 percent,” said Juncker, feeling sort of relieved that Kurz completed his first inaugural visit to Brussels. “There is also no reason why EU Commissioners should not receive individual ministers of the new government,” Juncker said.

“This government has a clear pro-European stance – as I am working with the extreme right coalition partner with mr. Tsipras, why are we making a whole thing out of Austria, when we like to be partially blind when it comes to other countries?” said Juncker on the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ left alliance Syriza coalition partner, the extreme right-wing Panos Kammenos’ “Independent Greeks”.

My only wish is that the Foreign Minister, in parts, perhaps completely, corrects her picture of me. She said I’m arrogant and cynical. Anyone who is foreign minister must get used to expressing himself more diplomatically “, said the Commission President about Minister Karin Kneissl.

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