VIENNA, December 4. /TASS/. Vienna sees easing tensions between the European Union and Russia as its priority task for 2019 because it is only possible to ensure long-term peace in Europe in cooperation with Russia, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at a Tuesday press conference, dedicated to the Austrian cabinet’s activities in 2018.
“Easing tensions in relations with Russia will be a major foreign policy challenge for us in the European Union, as well as ensuring de-escalation in the Ukrainian conflict because it is only possible to ensure long-term peace on our continent by cooperating with Russia, and not by opposing Russia,” he said in response to a question about Vienna’s priority tasks for 2019.
According to Kurz, adopting EU measures to ensure fair and free global trade will be Austria’s second priority. “The second big foreign policy challenge is that as a small export-oriented country, we need fair and free global trade, so the United States’ doubts in this regard pose a threat to Europe and Austria in particular. This is why we, the European Union, need to try to do everything possible to make sure that we have fair and free global trade in the future,” Kurz added.
At the same time, the Austrian chancellor pointed out that population growth in Africa, the economic boom in China, the implementation of Brexit and the European parliament election might also be listed as challenges.
Austria’s coalition government, formed by the Austrian People’s Party and the Freedom Party of Austria, was sworn in in December 2017. The Austrian People’s Party had won the parliamentary election, while the Freedom Party of Austria came third, achieving its best result in the past 15 years.
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