Christian Kern during his swearing-in ceremony in May.
"Austria wants to gradually loosen Russia sanctions." (Exact translation of the German title in EurActiv) - SON
Brexit continues to have far-reaching consequences, among which is
the potential for normalised relations with Russia. Austria is seeking a
leading role in this push. EurActiv Germany reports.
The alpine republic’s government met in full in Vienna on Monday (27
June) to discuss the ramifications of the Brexit vote. Austria’s new
chancellor, Christian Kern, and his Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Sebastian Kurz, emphasised that the EU must now act quickly to reassert
itself. To this end, the focus has to be on security, migration,
growth, employment, investment and the environment.
Special attention also has to be paid to Russia. Members from three
of the country’s parties, the SPÖ, ÖVP and the Greens voted in favour of
submitting an application to change the nature of the sanctions in
place against Russia and in favour of a graduated model.
The Vice-President of Austria’s National Council, Karlheinz Kopf,
said that the sanctions have, so far, not achieved their target. The
negative economic impact for both sides was also highlighted.
The proposed graduated model would link the sanctions to
implementation of the Minsk agreement, so the sanctions would be eased
off as progress is made.
Minister Kurz voiced his regret that the sanctions were extended last
by the EU without discussion. In his view, it is time to strengthen
ties with Russia once more.
The extreme-right Freedom Party did not participate in the
application, as they believe that the amendment does not go far enough.
Whether the former Chancellor, Werner Faymann, will play any role in
this process of rapprochement remains to be seen. Faymann, who was
replaced by Kern in May, has signed up to Brussels’ lobbyist register.
An article about similar movements in Italy goes in the same direction -- strengthening rather than weakening ties with Russia: 'Something is moving in Italy': Liguria adopts resolution to lift anti-Russia sanctions