Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Foreign Minster Karin Kneissl and Federal Minister Gernot Blümel, together with Spokesperson of the Austrian Federal Government Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal and the Director General responsible, Alexander Schallenberg, unveiled the logo for Austria's Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 9 March 2018.
On 1 July 2018, Austria will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Bulgaria. During its Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2018 – guided by the motto "A Europe that protects" – Austria will focus on three key areas: security and the fight against illegal migration, retaining competitiveness through digitalisation, and stability in the neighbouring regions (particularly the accession of the Western Balkans to the EU). Austria will also make increased reference to the principle of subsidiarity in the implementation of these key points. The European Union should become more engaged in major questions, such as matters of security, but should take a step back when it comes to smaller issues.
The Western Balkans will form a particular focus. The stability of the region is of major importance for the security situation in Austria and Europe. "Stabilising the region is a vital factor in the security of Europe as a whole. A vacuum has developed here, which is something that the European Commission and Austria wish to counteract," said Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl. During the Western Balkans summit in Sofia on 17 May 2018, which will involve close collaboration between Austria and Bulgaria, the further integration of the countries in the Western Balkans region will be discussed.
Austria will have two major challenges to face during its Presidency of the Council of the European Union: the Brexit negotiations and the negotiation of the new EU budget, which will come into effect in 2021. While the Brexit negotiations will be in their concluding phase during Austria's Presidency, the negotiations regarding the budget will continue beyond the period. Austria's main concern is using the taxes paid by European citizens in an efficient and economical manner.