Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel travelled to Austria on Monday (27 February) for his first official visit. His talks focused on the future of the EU. Gabriel and his Austrian counterpart underlined that Europe must speak with one voice in order to be heard in the world.
Cooperation on refugee and migration issues
“Seldom have so many forces been undermining the European Union at the same time – both externally and internally,” said Foreign Minister Gabriel prior to his departure. During his talks in Vienna, he therefore wanted to discuss with his counterparts how cohesion in Europe can be strengthened and how the European Union can be made fit for the future. Contentious topics must also be discussed, he said. “That will only be possible if we in the EU pull together and reach durable compromises, also on difficult issues such as how to deal with the refugee and migration crisis.”
“We must speak together as Europeans”
Gabriel’s first meeting in Vienna was with Austrian Federal Chancellor Christian Kern. He then met his counterpart Sebastian Kurz. Afterwards, Gabriel said the talks had been pleasant. Germany and Austria were two countries with similar views on what defines the European Union. No one lost national sovereignty because of the EU. On the contrary, joint European sovereignty gave the countries something in return that they did not have at all as individual nations. That was why it is all the more important to speak with a joint European voice. “Our children and grandchildren will only have a voice in the world if it is a joint European voice,” Gabriel underlined.