Great skepticism about the Union – Edtstadler plans a pro-European campaign for the EU elections


Despite the EU’s recently concluded accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, European Minister Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP) does not believe that these two states can be members of the Union within the next five to ten years. Despite all efforts, many reforms are still needed. As for the EU elections, she suspects that government parties across Europe will have a difficult time. This is one of the reasons why she is planning some kind of pro-European campaign.

The fact that Austria ranks last in terms of EU approval according to the Eurobarometer got her thinking, Edtstadler said in the APA interview. One reason for this, she believes, is that people are tired of crises. Moreover, many of the Union’s achievements have already become self-evident.

That’s why she wants to ‘drum’ these things next year. The fact that you can work anywhere in the EU, that you don’t have to pay roaming charges, that you no longer have to exchange money in most EU countries, that you don’t need a visa or settlement permit – all this is not widely understood. There are no national solutions – from energy self-sufficiency to migration.

Schengen expansion currently makes “little sense”
Edtstadler is confident when it comes to the Austrian veto against the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen. There are currently border controls in eleven of the 27 EU countries. There is “little point” in expanding until the existing system is repaired. After all, she is committed to ‘Air Schengen’, i.e. no checks at airports if certain conditions are met – such as stricter border controls between Bulgaria and Romania or between Romania and Hungary.

“Return Hungary to the rule of law”
As far as Hungary is concerned, the European minister considers cooperation with the neighboring country to be important. At the same time, she also supports the European Commission in its conflict with Hungary. There can be no such thing as junk time. If steps are taken to ensure the rule of law, resources must be made available again. However, if problems arise in this area, Hungary must “return to the path of the rule of law”. A lot has already been done here.

Many reforms are needed in Ukraine and Moldova
Regarding the upcoming EU accession negotiations, Edtstadler says it is “out of the question” that a state at war could become a member. Ukraine in particular, but also the “very ambitious” Moldova, still needs to implement “many reforms”.

Edtstadler is also committed to the prospect of accession for the Western Balkans. Here she describes Montenegro, North Macedonia and Albania as “frontrunners”. Bosnia and Herzegovina is also making important progress and deserves to open accession negotiations in March 2024. But the European minister would also like to see Serbia in the EU despite its authoritarian leadership: “Of course it is an additional advantage if the Western Balkans are brought closer to the EU and its values.”

The alternative would be to increase the influence of other states. She talks about China, Russia and Saudi Arabia: “That’s why I think the process is absolutely necessary.”

Source: Krone


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:



More like this