New EU president faces challenges

(VOVWORLD) - Austria assumed the rotating EU presidency on July 1. In its 6-month term, the government of Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz will have to make important decisions on uniting or dividing the European Union, which is facing severe challenges. 

New EU president faces challenges  - ảnh 1 Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Whoever leads the European Union Council is responsible for chairing the Council’s meetings, setting its agenda, and facilitating dialogue within the Council and with other EU institutions.

Crucial time

Austria has taken over the EU presidency from Bulgaria in the middle of a public debt crisis and the problem of implementing a brand new plan to deal with migrants. Brexit negotiations and relations with the US and Russia are burdens the new EU president will have to shoulder.

The Austrian government has outlined its priorities for the upcoming term, include security and migration. Austria wants a stricter immigration policy to protect the EU’s external borders against illegal immigration. It also aims to push support the candidacy of new members and a long-term budget for the EU from 2021 to 2027.

Brexit is high on the agenda so that the UK can depart the EU smoothly in March and EU-UK ties will be reforged.

Difficult presidency

Austria’s ambitious goals will be hard to achieve because of objective difficulties and internal problems.

2018 is a pivotal year for the EU. Many of its institutions will be restructured in the wake of general elections in member countries and the European Parliamentary election next year. National governments are concentrating on domestic issues rather than EU issues, weakening EU solidarity.

The EU remains divided between Western and Eastern members over migration despite the agreement reached on June 29. Austria is determined to act as mediator in that dispute. Under the helm of the youngest Prime Minister in its history, Austria, which held the EU presidency in 1998 and 2006, will have to prove it can unite members and move the EU forward, a tough task in the current climate.