|Alexander Van der Bellen (Independent, from January 2017)
Sebastian Kurz (People’s Party, since January 2020)
|Size||83,879 km² (32,385.86 sq. miles)|
|MEPs||19 (joined the EU in 1995)|
|Next presidential election
Next legislative election
|Presidency of the Council||After 2030|
|Last meeting with Boris Johnson||None held to date|
|Brexit priorities||Austria held the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2018, when the final phase of the negotiations took place. Austria’s role was significant as it led the negotiations from the Members States’ point of view.
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 Kurz said on Brexit||“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.”
“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.”
On the Withdrawal Agreement: “It is a good deal for both sides. Nobody has been cheated. This deal prevents a hard Brexit. Therefore it helps us in Europe, but even more so it helps Great Britain because a hard Brexit would hit Great Britain significantly more severely.”
|Austria’s priorities||In September 2019, Austria held snap elections following a no-confidence vote in Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. His party, the People’s Party (ÖVP), won the election obtaining 38% of the votes. The social democratic SPÖ came in second with 22% with the far right Freedom Party (FPÖ) losing seats, going from 26% to 17% of the vote.
The election was triggered after footage appeared of the Vice Chancellor from the FPÖ, Heinz-Christian Strache, trying to trade lucrative public contracts for campaign support from a woman who Strache believed to be a Russian business woman.
Sebastian Kurz will now start coalition talks. He could decide to again work together with the FPÖ, form a grand coalition with the SPÖ or work together with the Greens and liberal party Neos.
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