By scheduling his obligatory meeting with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday (12 January) as the new head of government so swiftly after his inauguration, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) sought to signal that his government is engaged with Europe.
At the meeting, von der Leyen applauded Austria’s high climate ambitions and put high hopes in the country’s ability to build bridges between Eastern and Western member states.
According to the EU Commission President, rifts between both groups have often revolved around migration and climate protection, two areas in which “Austria has a lot of credibility with the Eastern member states”.
At the meeting, Kurz affirmed his readiness to build these bridges, something which he will already have the opportunity to do on Thursday, at a meeting with the Visegrád group in Prague.
>>Read also the AFP story on the issue: Von der Leyen hails ‘Austrian model’ on climate change