BRUSSELS – The new Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, affirmed on Tuesday the pro-European Union policies of his administration, in coalition with the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), while advocating to reduce the weight of EU regulations and increase the so-called subsidiarity.
On his first trip abroad after his inauguration, to the EU capital amid Brussels’ fears that Austria could trend towards Europhobia, Kurz wanted to calm the EU institutions and some member countries and to deny any anti-EU drift of his government.
This reassuring message, although with some contradictions such as the demand to increase the presence of national legislation over the EU legislation, with greater use of the principle of subsidiarity, was welcomed by both the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, after two separate meetings.
Juncker said in a news conference that the EU was very pleased that the new chancellor has chosen Brussels for his first trip, which was a positive sign demonstrating the new administration’s commitment to the European community.
“As is the case with all governments, we will assess the Austrian government by its deeds,” Juncker added.
Tusk, for his part, said after the meeting with the Austrian Chancellor that he saw Kurz as an “energetic, determined and pro-European” leader.
Kurz also emphasized the pro-European vocation of his government, democratically elected by its citizens, and even apologized for the presence of the FPÖ in his government, which he explained was due to the Austrian Social Democrats refusing to be junior partners of the coalition.
During his speech before the press in Brussels, Kurz also addressed other matters, among them the fight against illegal immigration.