Focus on the European agenda

Angela Merkel receives Sebastian Kurz Focus on the European agenda

In the run-up to the informal meeting of EU leaders in Salzburg, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz have met to discuss the current European agenda. Migration and Brexit were the focal issues of their meeting in Berlin.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz deliver their statements at the press conference.

Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Berlin

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

The two leaders’ talks served primarily to prepare for this week’s informal meeting of the 28 heads of state and government of the European Union.

Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that it is good to review the current European agenda "from now until the elections to the European Parliament". Migration is a very important issue. Germany shares the priorities of Austria’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, including protecting the external borders. "We must, of course, also see Africa, the countries of origin, as a priority," said Angela Merkel.

Discussion key to summit

The format of an informal meeting is a good way of fostering broad-based discussion, declared the Chancellor. It’s not a question of making resolutions or decisions, but of exchanging views. At the meeting in Salzburg, the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union will also play a part, alongside migration, said Angela Merkel.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz underlined that it is important to strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex, as proposed by the European Commission.

Important dates in the European calendar

The Chancellor’s meeting with Sebastian Kurz was one of a number of important dates in the European calendar within a short space of time. Only last week, Jean-Claude Juncker President of the European Commission gave his speech on the state of the Union, following hard on the heels of the Chancellor’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron to closely coordinate further European proceedings.

Austria currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Austria and Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, will be hosting an informal meeting of EU leaders in Salzburg on 19 and 20 September. Talks are to concentrate on three major European policy issues: migration, internal security and the current status of the Brexit negotiations.