The Presidents of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, Ska Keller and Philippe Lamberts, comment on the start of the Austrian EU Presidency:
"Kurz’s government is stirring up fear and division in the European Union. It is shameful that the Austrian Chancellor is presenting himself as a bridge-building pro-European when his interpretation of subsidiarity would destroy the foundations of cooperation and solidarity in the European Union. European citizens need hope, not fear.
"The EU Presidency is not just about trying to satisfy your electorate at home. The Council Presidency should bring EU governments together and find compromise. But Kurz is now pursuing his right-wing national agenda at European level, hiding the urgent problems in his own country and in the European Union behind his agitation against refugees. Despite huge protests, working hours are being increased to twelve hours a day, while social benefits are cut and ever-growing inequality across Europe is ignored.
"Instead of further ratcheting up the migration debate, Kurz and his government should promote a more social Europe, ensure tax transparency and encourage solidarity between governments. That would be a courageous presidency of the EU Council."