Washington / Vienna. Under US President Joe Biden, Austrian President Sebastian Kurz is having a difficult time in the United States. When his German counterpart Angela Merkel was welcomed at the White House on Thursday, she was greeted at the UN headquarters in New York. Peter Ruff, a Washington foreign policy expert, is a “symbolic figure.” In an interview with the Austrian Press Agency, Biden relied heavily on Germany in Europe. In short, however, the United States was also affected by domestic political problems.
“Kurz is in New York and Merkel is in Washington. They would have wanted to meet Kurz during the Trump administration,” said a Conservative Hudson Institute researcher, referring to the controversy between Berlin and Washington under Biden’s pioneers. Donald Trump’s government “sought regional alternatives” in Europe and developed emotional ties with smaller Central European countries.
The fact that Trump saw an “entry channel” to Europe in the Austrian and Viceroyalty group was a great opportunity for Kurz, and he took advantage of it. For example, in February 2019, he became the first president to join the Oval Office after 13 years. A year later, another meeting with Trump fell victim to the epidemic. President Ruff said the Chancellor was able to present himself as “a young, energetic center-right politician” in the United States. Of course, European experts in Washington did not miss the ÖVP boss’ domestic political issues – such as the chat affair surrounding Thomas Schmidt. “It confirms those who say he has no backbone,” Ruff said, and now sees the president in the United States as “a little beaten up”.
In terms of content, Ruff says, Kurz is “not far from democratic.” In the UN, the Iran nuclear deal, or the Paris climate deal, Biden’s Democrats’ positions are “consistent” with the ÖVP boss’s. The positive attitude towards Israel has been well received by most Democrats.
Chancellor’s “Big Profile”
Rough thinks it is “absolutely right” that Kurz chose the United States as the destination for his first trip outside of Europe since the outbreak of the epidemic. Attending a conference of politicians and business captains organized by former Google boss Eric Schmidt in Montana in the second half of the week also confirms the president’s relatively “big profile” in the United States. Austria’s development of its relationship with the United Nations is also “important”, with the Alpine Republic being given “relatively high priority” over other countries of similar size. But: “Austria is relatively small and did not play a key role in the Biden government’s thinking,” Ruff said. Now that Biden is focusing more on Brussels and Berlin, Austria should also try to influence Atlantic politics through the European Union.
Ruff did not want to exaggerate the fact that Vienna came out empty-handed in the match for the US-Russia summit. Presumably Switzerland was chosen as a “completely neutral country” location because, unlike Austria, it did not support EU-Russia sanctions.(What)
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