|Alexander Van der Bellen (independent, from January 2017)
Christian Kern (Social Democratic Party, from May 2016)
|Size||83,879 km2 (32,385.86 sq mi)|
|MEPs||18 (joined the EU in 1995)|
|Next presidential election
Next legislative election
15 October 2017
|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’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has taken over the leadership of the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP), Chancellor Kern’s coalition partner, and he has called for an early election following increasing tensions between the two parties. The election could see far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), currently leading in opinion polls, enter into government.
Chancellor Kern seeks to adopt measures to curb immigration to Austria and has taken a clear position is questioning Turkey’s future membership of the EU.
Furthermore, the Government has a 10-year reform plan that focuses on job creation, economic growth and education.
The refugee crisis has also had a significant impact on the country.
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