Austrian Chancellor Kurz Labels EU ‘Lethargic’ and ‘Complacent’

AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has criticised the European Union (EU) over being complacent and lethargic in its attitude to innovation and global competitiveness.

The conservative Austrian leader made his remarks in a guest contribution for the German newspaper Die Welt this week commenting that the political bloc is no longer setting global trends but taking a backseat to others.

“While we in Europe today set global standards in terms of freedom and democracy, today we no longer set the standards for innovation and growth,” Kurz said and went on to note the growth of China and its radically different approach to organising society.

“While the world order around us is fundamentally changing and Europe is facing great challenges, we in Europe often have the impression that we are shrugging our shoulders to these changes. We look full, self-satisfied, and lethargic, unfortunately, we often do not have the will to be at the top,” he said.

Kurz went on to note how the great debates in Europe, such as French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal for an EU-wide minimum wage, were directed at wealth distribution rather than wealth creation and innovation.

Kurz is not the only one to criticise Macron’s vision for Europe. Earlier in the week, Christian Democratic Union leader, and successor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, also critiqued the French leader.

On the future of the EU, Kurz said he wanted to see the bloc be more united on core issues such as the external border and foreign policy while withdrawing from other issues that he said could be handled better on a national level.

Migration has been a major issue for Kurz, who has previously clashed with German Chancellor Merkel on the subject in 2018, soon after becoming Chancellor.

The remarks come after Kurz and Austria held the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union until December of last year.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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