“I am convinced that our common vision of a European Union which stands for peace, freedom, security and prosperity remains the right course and in our own interest. Unfortunately, there have been several undesirable developments in the past, which have increasingly alienated the European Union from its citizens. We therefore need a change of course within the European Union”, said Federal Minister, Sebastian Kurz, on Europe Day on 9 May. “Austria’s companies profit a lot from all the opportunities in the European single market. This becomes very obvious when you have a look at the development of Austrian exports: in 1995, the year of our accession to the EU, we had exports of about 37 billion euros, today we have clearly more than 130 billion euros. The Schengen area makes travelling without borders possible for our citizens and with programmes like Erasmus, the EU not only strengthens European solidarity but also makes valuable contributions to the education of our youth. We need to build on this success,” said Sebastian Kurz. “We need to make more use of the subsidiarity principle. The EU needs to be strong in important areas like foreign, security and defence policies, in securing our external borders together and in strengthening our competitiveness as an economic region in global competition. At the same time, the EU needs to withdraw much more from those areas which can be better regulated at a national level. I therefore see no need to further harmonise our social policies or our health policy”, said Sebastian Kurz. “Brexit means a turning point for the EU. The EU must not get smaller and weaker after Great Britain leaves the Union. We will commit ourselves to ensuring this does not happen, especially during our EU presidency in 2018”, concluded Federal Minister Sebastian Kurz.
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