Sebastian Kurz has criticised EU rules
Mr Kurz, who at 31 is the youngest world leader, also reflected on an apparent shift in the global power balance in his speech at the Munich Security Conference today.
Speaking after the Prime Minister Theresa May called for a security treaty with the EU after Brexit, Mr Kurz that “in the last couple of years things have changed.”
The leader of the conservative People’s Party (OVP) added that the “USA has an economic power that is stronger than ever before but they are retreating from the world stage” and that China has been “filling that vacuum in political terms and economic terms.”
The Austrian leader then slammed the bloc’s approach to border security, and said: “To ensure peace in the EU we got rid of the borders in the EU a long time ago, but without proper external border protection these borders are in danger, and something that always seemed unimaginable to me has become reality, namely that we would have border controls with the EU again.”
Mr Kurz spoke in favour of the EU bolstering security on its borders, and continued: “Only if we decide who can come to us, and only if we ourselves protect the borders can we ensure the the EU without domestic borders will also be a given in the future.”
The conservative leader then slammed the nature of EU’s single market regulations, and continued: “To ensure wealth we as the EU have created common guidelines and established the single market
“But if we look at how strong the influx of regulations has become and if we listen to more and more small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) complaining about this, then I think we need to realise that we can only ensure wealth if we create guidelines that are also useful for small and medium-sized enterprises.
“We didn’t just take wrong turns in some areas I often have the feeling that we lose each other more and more in contradictions and create structures that are not quite as capable to act as they should be.”
Sebastian Kurz has said EU countries should be able to better protect their borders
Mr Kurz went on to make the claim the EU is acting “a bit like an old couple”, he claimed: “The west complains about the east, the north is angry at the south, and the self-declared avant-garde that complains about he allegedly left-behind in the EU.”
He said that if the “EU wants to become stronger again it is necessary we go back to the original idea of the EU”, and continued: “If we concentrate on the bigger issues within the EU we will also be able to be internationally stronger.
“In my opinion this is the freedom to reside and the open borders will be guaranteed in future as well and this means a focus n a better and stronger external border protection.”
Mr Kurz continued: “I strongly believe that if as the EU become internally stronger again, if we protect our borders and ensure stability, become economically stronger, this will be the basis of becoming internationally more important again and thereby ensure more security and stability not just in Europe but also internationally.”
The Austrian leaders comments in Munich come days after the President of the European Council Donald Tusk hit out at him after their first official meeting in Vienna.
Mr Tusk said that Austria’s opposition to migrant quotas is fuelling populism and dividing the EU.
Speaking from Vienna, he said: “When it comes to managing illegal migration Chancellor Kurz and I have discussed this many times already, and we have similar views.
“Migration will remain a challenge for many years to come which is why we want to find a solution which is to make sure that the EU together with national states can manage future migration flow sufficiently and without creating new divisions in Europe.
“It is possible but naturally all sides need to compromise.
“Above all we must put an end to the destructive emotions surrounding the issues of relocation as they continue to fuel populism and divide Europe.
“If the issue is not resolved by ministers within the next month, we will need to find a solution at the June European Council.”
Theresa May used her speech in Munich this morning to say that “Europe’s security is our security” as called for a new treaty after Brexit.
The Prime Minister also hinted that the UK could still pay cash into the EU’s foreign aid budget after Brexit.
(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)