|Alexander Van der Bellen (independent, from January 2017)
Sebastian Kurz (People’s Party (ÖVP), from December 2017)
|Size||83,879 km2 (32,385.86 sq mi)|
|MEPs||18 (joined the EU in 1995)|
|Next presidential election
Next legislative election
|Presidency of the Council||July – December 2018|
|Last meeting with Theresa May||None held to date|
|Brexit priorities||Austria will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2018, when the final phase of the negotiations will be taking place. Therefore, Austria’s role at that point will be crucial.
The main priority for the Austrian government is to secure the rights of its 25,000 citizens residing in the UK. Also high on the agenda will be to ensure Austria will not have to fill the EU budget gap left by the UK once it leaves. The Austrians want to take the opportunity from Brexit to reform the EU to make it more efficient.
|What Chancellor Kern said on Brexit||18 June 2016
“Whatever the outcome of the British referendum, afterwards Europe will not be able to shy away from a few much-needed debates.”
30 June 2016
“I think it was crystal clear what the consequences for Great Britain are: This is a big mess, an enormous damage, and so I don’t think that Great Britain will become a role model.”
27 September 2016
“So, there’s too much regulation in Brussels, the institutions work themselves to death in largely opaque decision-making processes, the balance of power among member states, Commission, Council and Parliament is badly calibrated – all of that is true but not the core of the problem.”
29 March 2017
“For me, the status and rights of around 25,000 Austrians living and working in the UK are at the forefront.” “We also want to achieve clarity and legal certainty for Austrian companies operating in the UK.”
|Austria’s priorities||Austria held elections on 15 October 2017, when the People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Freedom Party (FPÖ) emerged as the big winners, with 32% and 26% of the vote respectively. Former Chancellor Christian Kern’s social democrats (SPÖ), previously in coalition with the ÖVP, secured 27% of the vote.
ÖVP leader and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Sebastian Kurz, was sworn in as Chancellor after he concluded coalition talks with the far-right FPÖ. This Government has agreed to take a hard line on asylum seekers, seek friendlier relations with Russia and cut wages in order to curb immigration. Despite the FPÖ’s views on the EU, the two parties have agreed not to have an EU referendum and to support the eurozone.
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