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Mr Alexander van der BELLEN

Speeches since 2019

25/01/2018 | 12:32:16 I know about this opinion, which is not unique to people outside Austria – it is present in Austria too. It is certainly true that, especially among one of the coalition partners, xenophobic tendencies have been present in past, and also critical attitudes towards the European Union and European unity in general. However, that was the rhetoric of an opposition party, and we will see what the Government really does. When I think back – it was a different situation, but still – in 2000 we had a... 25/01/2018 | 12:32:16 Language is important, you are right, and I have said so in public, although I think the interpretation of that statement by our new Minister of the Interior was rather far-fetched, but still. My powers as a federal president are similar to those of other presidents who do not have real executive powers. I have some influence in how I behave: where, when, on which topic and in what manner I make speeches – that is, influencing the public – and talking to the media, obviously. I have to sign... 25/01/2018 | 12:32:16 You can be assured that I have my own opinions about policies towards foreigners, including refugees. Of course, not every man or woman who crosses the border seeking asylum has sufficient grounds to be granted asylum. We all know that. The difficult question is what to do then, but this is not new. We have had this problem for decades, and not only in Austria but in all European countries, where greater numbers are applying for asylum. Personally, I would not wish to make such decisions, I... 25/01/2018 | 12:32:16 On the first question, about right-wing parties and the future of the European Union, when I worry about the future of the European Union, I worry about developments across the countries of the Union, not in Austria alone. In the long election campaign in Austria for the federal presidency – it lasted the whole of 2016 – it was, in a sense, interesting and tragic that, in the six months leading up to the second election, I tried to take up European topics in every speech and interview, and... 25/01/2018 | 12:32:16 It will not be an easy presidency, that is for sure. The Brexit negotiations are going on – maybe they will come to an end, maybe not. There are certain financial issues relating to the European Union budget, not least because of the Brexit negotiations, and the situation regarding asylum co-ordination is unsatisfactory to say the least. Still, at the moment the situation is under control. It was different in 2015. In Austria, there was a bit of a time lag in people’s reaction to the fact...