BERLIN | VIENNA – Merkel and Kurz disagree on EU issues

Although harmonious in tone, the two heads of state disagreed on two crucial EU issues.

Not only does Austria reject the German proposal of a tax on financial transactions for failing to hit big-time speculators but instead harms small investors, but the two also disagreed on the recently circulated idea of EU High Representative Josep Borrell regarding the revival of Operation Sophia to monitor the weapons embargo against Libya. 

Although it seems like Austria could budge on Germany’s tax proposal, as Merkel said she “regretted” Austria’s position and will continue to negotiate, the two heads of state’s approach to Operation Sophia appear to be diametrically opposed.

According to Merkel, this is because the two “put their emphases differently” when it comes to sea rescue of migrants. While Merkel would prefer state institutions to rescue ship-wrecked people rather than private boats, as is the case now, Austria worries that this might encourage more people to set sail for Europe, leading to more drownings. (Philipp Grüll |

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