Austria shifts to the Right : EU Commissioner Congratulates
Austrian conservative party leader, Sebastian Kurz, has reached a coalition deal with the anti-immigration Freedom party (FPO). Austria is now becoming the only western European country with a far-right party in government. When the FPO entered government in 2000, other EU countries were protesting. Why is the EU Commissioner, Johannes Hans, congratulating the new Austrian government this time?
Føllesdal explains that, in response to the concerns in 2000, a committee of wise men was appointed to investigate the situation. The Committee reported that there was no indication that ethnic minorities would be persecuted and therefore recommended to lift the sanctions that were applied against Austria at that time. Following this report, a clarification to the EU treaty was made to specify how EU Member States should react if a State is accused of violating European values. Føllesdal emphasizes that this makes the situation in 2017 different.