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EU DOOM: Austria could turn tide on Brussels by joining powerful Visegrad group

AUSTRIA could bring an end to the EU’s goals of ever-closer union by looking to regional allies in the four nation Visegrad group amid concern the country is poorly represented within the bloc.


Sebastian Kurz is set to become the continent’s youngest leader after topping the polls in Austria’s election last month.His Austrian People’s Party is expected to form a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), who have long campaigned to shun the EU and instead turn to the Visegrad group – a four-nation alliance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

Now with Austria soon to take over the presidency of the EU council, experts have claimed joining the group of anti-immigration states could give Austria a chance to influence decisions in a way it currently cannot in the bloc.

Political scientist Paul Luif has warned Europhiles that Austria’s lack of “close cooperation partners in the EU” makes it all the more necessary for the nation to “broaden its point of view”.


An expert claimed larger states like France and Germany will be even more controlling after Brexit

And the expert has claimed larger states like France and Germany will be even more controlling of less represented nations once Britain leaves the European project.Writing in Die Presse, Mr Luif said: “Austria is without close cooperation partners in the EU and its interests are therefore difficult to enforce.

“The ad hoc cooperation on technical issues with EU partners, which is mentioned again and again, is hardly suitable for influencing EU decision-making processes.

Eurocrat in chief Jean-Claude Juncker urged Mr Kurz to build a ‘pro-European government’

“Most decisions at EU level are ‘package deals’, where a state obtains an advantage in the environmental sector, for example, and in return makes financial concessions to the partner or partners.“However, this can only be achieved through a long-term cooperation that covers a large number of decisions at EU level.

Mr Luif said: “Working with Berlin and Paris in mind will often be detrimental to Austrian interests, as the smaller EU states will probably have to defend themselves against paternalism by these states after Brexit in the future.”

The Visegrad leaders have previously refused migrant quotas approved by a western-dominated majority of European Union member states, as well as rejecting proposed EU reforms that would transfer more power from national governments to Brussels institutions.


Smaller EU member states have long bemoaned their inability to forge decisions within the bloc

In a letter to the new Austrian leader last month, Eurocrat in chief Jean-Claude Juncker urged Mr Kurz to build a “pro-European government” in a clear warning against joining with the FPO.He wrote: “Soon, Austria will play an outstanding role being the presidency of the council of the European Union.

“Under Austria’s responsibility a number of important decisions regarding the European Union will have to be made.

“Therefore I wish you great success building a stable and pro-European Government and I look forward to working together in the future.”

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