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extension?  In Austria, even neighbors are not welcome

extension? In Austria, even neighbors are not welcome

When it comes to the attitude towards the accession of the Western Balkans and Ukraine to the European Union, Austria is a negative outlier. Constructive European policy is now merely a program for the minority in this country.

The realization that Austrians tend to speak out against EU enlargement is nothing new – but until now it has been assumed in Vienna and Brussels that the pushback was against countries geographically distant or religiously different from the EU aspirants such as Georgia, Ukraine or Turkey, in While approval for the accession of neighboring Balkan countries (which are historically linked to Austria) is still in place. However, the survey conducted by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) in six EU member states in November, which will be published on Tuesday and which Die Presse was able to see in advance, paints a different picture: according to this Austria is the negative case. Extremism across the European Union regarding enlargement approval – and, contrary to hope, not even its neighbors are welcome in this country.

1. Approval of EU enlargement is generally about to be completed…

Big picture Europe first: Enthusiasm for the enlargement round among those surveyed in Germany, France, Denmark, Austria, Poland and Romania is limited. Only in the last two member states do majorities support further accession (see chart), while elsewhere opponents form a majority. However, a closer look reveals a nuanced picture: in three future EU member states – Montenegro, Moldova, and Ukraine – the number of those in favor of accession was higher than the number of those who opposed accession.

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2. …but rejection is especially strong in Austria