College of Commissioners discusses EU priorities under the Austrian Presidency
The College of Commissioners travelled to Vienna in order to discuss the EU's priorities under the current 6-months Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
President Juncker had meetings with the Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, the President of the Austrian National Council Wolfgang Sobotka and members of the Austrian Parliament.
In his meeting with Sebastian Kurz, President Juncker outlined that Austria has the Presidency at a very decisive moment in time and encouraged the Austrian Presidency to play the role of a "bridge builder and honest broker". He particularly encouraged the Austrian Presidency to follow up on the June European Council conclusions on migration noting the Commission's intention to strengthen the protection of external borders, also with its proposal on the Multiannual Financial Framework.
With the Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, President Juncker underlined how the Commission's proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework responds to the Austrian Presidency priorities on migration, competitiveness, digitisation, rural development and climate change.
In his meeting with members of the Austrian Parliament, President Juncker stressed the important role of national Parliaments, including in the context of the political dialogue and the subsidiarity control mechanism. He stressed the Commission’s efforts in promoting the principle of subsidiarity as a central part of all its work.
The College of Commissioners participated in meetings with the Austrian government to discuss the main priorities of the Presidency: security, the fight against illegal migration, prosperity and competitiveness through digitisation, stability in the European neighbourhood and the long-term EU budget. Discussions also focused on initiatives in the context of the Commission's work programme to be launched with a 2025 perspective.
At the press conference with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, President Juncker said that today's discussions demonstrate that “the Austrian government and the Commission are moving in the same direction” and that the Austrian government has a clear pro-European programme. Referring to the motto of the Austrian Presidency ‘A Europe that protects’, President Juncker underlined that the Commission shared this objective since 2014 and that it must remain “more than a poem” but should be implemented in concrete terms. He expressed confidence that this will be done across all policy areas.
On migration, President Juncker stated that "solidarity and the protection of external borders go together. Europe, the continent of solidarity, last year granted asylum to and resettled over 720,000 refugees – three times as much as the United States, Canada and Australia combined".
On the negotiations for the long-term EU budget, President Juncker said: "We need speed but also thoroughness. (…) The EU budgetary framework is our future in numbers.”
6 July 2018