Europe Day 2016: Federal Minister Kurz: "We need not only many convinced Europeans, but most of all convincing Europeans"

It is 66 years today that the declaration by the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman laid the foundations for the creation of the European Union on 9 May 1950. “Today’s Europe Day provides us with another opportunity to deal in a conscious manner with the opportunities and challenges we are facing today. The refugee crisis, discussions on security and debates about locations, digitisation or the developments in the United Kingdom only serve to show that we need to work hard in order to further improve Europe”, Federal Minister Sebastian Kurz stated referring to today’s Europe Day.

Austria joined the EU in 1995 and both citizens and business have benefited enormously from its EU membership. What is important now is the future of the European Union. For Austria in particular there is no alternative to Europe as future challenges can only be managed together. This is why Austria wants to contribute pro-actively and in a meaningful manner to the community of values. "The European Union is the most successful peace project and has created the basis for many successful developments also in Austria. For me and my generation this has often become only natural, but it will continue to require hard work. The achievements of the EU – freedom to travel, the freedom to choose where one wishes to live and work – are enormously important. An all-out effort must be made in order to safeguard the external borders to ensure that we do not require borders within the EU and that we remain able to make full use of the opportunities offered by a united Europe”, Sebastian Kurz stated.

Austria has already launched many measures that make a real contribution to the European Union and has very concrete ideas for its further development. "Austria wants a Europe that is big on big issues and small on small issues. Europe needs a powerful common Foreign and Defence Policy - and also the trust that there are some matters that are better decided by the regions themselves ", Sebastian Kurz said. At the same time it necessary to deal with the EU at a local level and to involve citizens. If the European idea is to be filled with life and put into practice at the local level, it is necessary to discuss matters at the local level, on the ground, to address fears and concerns and take them seriously. "What is important are not only many convinced Europeans but most of all convincing Europeans who are able to motivate and inspire others”, Sebastian Kurz highlighted. The Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs thus launches numerous initiatives towards communicating European issues and sharing the idea of Europe with citizens, including for instance cooperation with more than 700 Municipal Councillors for EU Affairs or the European State Award for projects dealing with Europe.
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