Federal Chancellor Kurz: Cooperation between Council, Commission and Parliament is crucial
Meeting of EU Commission with Federal Government in Vienna
“For the Austrian Federal Government, good cooperation between the Council, Commission and Parliament is important. Therefore we have exchanged views today on important issues of our presidency of the Council that will occupy us during the next 6 months”, said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz after bilateral talks with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. The talks were preceded by a meeting of the EU Commission with members of the Federal Government.
Three clusters of priorities
“We have tried to group the innumerable topics into three clusters and to discuss the individual areas in a concrete way. For ‘MFF and the future of Europe’ we have agreed on a common timetable, defining how the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework could and should be conducted”, the Federal Chancellor declared, stressing one of the important discussion points of the near future.
“‘Security, defence, migration’ and the Western Balkans will be another important discussion point in the efforts of advancing European security and defence policy. In this context the protection of external borders and cooperation with third countries, among other things, play a role. It is well known that Austria is a strong driving force in the efforts to give the Western Balkans a European perspective”, Sebastian Kurz added.
“The third cluster – ‘Innovation in a connected and globalised world’ – signifies that we are striving to complete the Digital Single Market. 29 dossiers are on the table that we would like to finalise swiftly. Fair taxation of internet giants is another big topic. In this area we support the Commission’s proposals”, declared the Austrian head of government and expressing his thanks for the fruitful working-level discussions.
Juncker – Progress needed on migration
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker highlighted the consensus between the European Commission and the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union on migration issues. “The motto ‘A Europe that protects’ touches the very core of what I said in my inauguration speech in the European Parliament in October 2014”, the Commission President said, welcoming the motto of the Austrian Government for its presidency of the European Council. President Juncker emphasised that progress in migration issues is needed and that therefore “we have agreed today that, in September, the Commission will make a proposal on the protection of external borders. Until 2020 we will have deployed 10 000 border police officers.”
There was also agreement on the priority topic of digitalisation. “I am glad to see that the Austrian Federal Government is working intensively on this topic. Many decisions remain to be taken. Progress in this area would be welcome”, said Juncker.
The Commission President stressed that Europe needs to be brought closer to its citizens and at the same time Europe should not meddle in questions of everyday life. He also stated that subsidiarity, as the second major thematic field of the Austrian Presidency, is taken seriously by the Commission, which will work on it intensively. Closing his speech, the Commission President wished Austria all the best for the presidency of the Council of the EU.
It is a tradition for the European Commission to visit the country currently holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union. The visit to Austria included not only the joint meeting between the Commission and the Federal Government, but also a bilateral meeting between Jean-Claude Juncker and Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and a working-level meeting between the EU Commission and the Austrian National Council.
Official photos of this event will be published on the official Flickr channel.
More information about the event can be found on the event page.