Discussion in Austria's Parliament on Security Policy Concerning Ukraine and Israel

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: December 13, 2023; 23:54 ♦ (Vindobona)

In the run-up to the European Council, Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg met in Parliament to discuss current security policy challenges.

MPs discuss Hamas terrorism, Ukraine, and the impact of conflicts at Europe's external borders on the EU. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons/ Peter Binter/ CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

The discussion focused mainly on the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, although the topics of EU enlargement and geopolitical developments in Europe were also discussed.

The proposed opening of accession talks with Ukraine was a major topic that provoked intense debate. The FPÖ in particular called for an Austrian veto on the expansion of the EU financial framework and the opening of accession negotiations with Ukraine. The FPÖ also demanded an end to sanctions against Russia, but this motion remained in the minority.

Federal Chancellor Nehammer emphasized that EU enlargement should promote reforms in the candidate countries and spoke out against a fast-track procedure for Ukraine and Moldova. He emphasized that Austria wanted to promote stability and prosperity while avoiding instability.

Security policy and external border protection

About asylum and migration, Nehammer was pleased about the increasing support within the EU for stronger external border protection and cooperation with safe third countries. These measures are aimed at stopping the smugglers' business and ending the deaths in the Mediterranean.

Escalation in the Middle East

Foreign Minister Schallenberg commented on the situation in the Middle East and emphasized the need to prevent a conflagration in the region. He called for the immediate and unconditional release of the Hamas hostages and emphasized the importance of distinguishing between Hamas and the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.

EU finances and the principle of unanimity

Nehammer was critical of the proposed EU financial framework and reiterated that Austria, as a net contributor, would not agree to it. Both politicians also spoke out in favor of retaining the principle of unanimity in important EU matters.

The meeting ended with an outlook on the upcoming EU Council meeting, with both politicians emphasizing that Austria will continue to stand in solidarity with Ukraine without violating its neutrality. The discussions in the main committee underlined the complex security and economic challenges that the EU is currently facing.

Austrian Parliament