Kurz Vows to Preserve EU27’s Unity over Brexit as Austria Takes over Rotating Presidency
Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has declared that preserving the unity of the 27 remaining EU member states in light of the UK’s departure from the EU (Brexit) is an absolute priority for the Austrian Presidency of the European Council.
Austria took over the rotating six-month Presidency of the top EU body from Bulgaria on July 1, 2018, and is set to preside over the Union during a crucial period leading up to Brexit, which is set for March 29, 2019.
In his first speech to the European Parliament since Austria became the EU President, Kurz sought to warn to the UK against any attempts to pit the remaining EU member states against one another.
“Of course, as the presidency in office there are various issues on the table that we haven’t chosen – I’m thinking of Brexit,” the Austrian Chancellor stated, as cited by The Independent.
“Of course, we’re unhappy that the United Kingdom is poised to leave the European Union but more important than that is managing an orderly departure,” Kurz told the MEPs.
“That is what is important. We need sound political and economic relations with the Untied Kingdom and I am very grateful to the European Union’s lead negotiator, grateful to him for everything he has done. We will do our best to support him and also preserve the unity of the 27 in these matters,” he elaborated.
The period of the Austrian Presidency of the EU is expected to include the meeting when the final Brexit deal is to be signed off in October 2018.
Presently the Brexit deal negotiations are perceived as being at a somewhat of a standstill as the British Cabinet is expected to draft a policy on trade and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
“We have been waiting for months now for the white paper from No 10 Downing Street and we will analyse it once we receive it,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated during the same European Parliament session as Austrian Chancellor Kurz.
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