“A Radical Reform of Europe”: French and Austrian Leaders Outline Their Vision

Written by | Friday, August 25th, 2017

The French and Austrian leaders have called for a “radical reform of Europe” during their meeting in Vienna. French President Emmanuel Macron and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern also used this occasion to talk about the situation of EU workers from low-pay countries and their impact on competition and social regulations.
Mr. Kern added that their number in Austria has gone up to 166,000 in 2016 – a 25% rise since 2015 – and it is likely to still grow further in 2017. “We are afraid of social dumping that would undermine the regulations of our country,” he stressed and added that “the level of salaries is often insufficient, but sanctions can’t be applied because of a lack of cooperation from the workers’ home countries”. Mr. Macron added that Europe’s single market and free movement of people are not intended to favor countries that “tend to lower social standards”.
Mr. Macron in turn outlined his vision for the radical reform, saying that he was confident that he would start working on a new proposal to reform the EU by the end of this year. His Austrian counterpart added that it was essential that Europe would proceed in unity and declared that he no longer wanted to hear the tagline: “old vs. new Europe”. Austria’s presidency of the EU will begin in the second half of 2018. Both leaders also said that the vision for “a brand new EU” would involve a “very, very strict” budget. “Europe is in need of radical reform. I was struck by our alignment on topics like the European budget, the European parliament, and the democratic debate,” Emmanuel Macron said.

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