Chancellor Karl Nehammer declares war on the mutualisation of debts in Europe. He made that clear in Brussels. Here he completely follows his predecessor Sebastian Kurz. Since Austria cannot achieve much in this regard, Nehammer is also looking for cooperation with other countries. After Kurz joined forces with the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and, most recently, Finland in 2020 – keyword: “Sparsame Fünf” – the new Chancellor obviously also places his hopes in the new German Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP).
Nehammer emphasized to “Welt”: “I think a strategic partnership between Germany and Austria within the EU is of great importance. We should develop it. I am thinking, for example, of economic and financial policy. The governments in Berlin and Vienna should make it clear in Brussels that we do not want a permanent debt union, ”said Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) WELT.
Both states should jointly, so Nehammer further, “do all they can to ensure that the taking on of debts by the EU Commission in response to an extraordinary crisis caused by the corona pandemic must remain unique and not a gateway for even more common debts and even more joint liability will be ”. That would be a heavy burden for taxpayers in both countries. “It takes strong partners to prevent that from happening”.
Austria earned its reputation as a so-called frugal state within the EU in 2020 when the EU corona aid was decided. Since then, the “Sparse Five” have been relying on an austerity course and self-reliance on the part of the EU countries. At that time, they were at least able to slow down the joint financing of EU corona aid, which was mainly driven by France. In the end, they agreed on a package of 750 billion euros. For this, the EU Commission is borrowing for the first time on the capital market this year. The spicy thing: If one or more countries fail to repay their debts, the remaining members of the monetary union have to answer for it.
While for Nehammer this was a one-time action in an exceptional situation that must not be repeated, France and the southern European member states – Italy and Spain, for example – are pushing for further communitisation of debts, as well as a softening of the stability pact and the introduction of a European finance minister. A serious conflict could be imminent within the EU. The starting position of the frugal countries is not easy. The EU Commission is clearly on the side of France and Italy.
The “Welt” underlines: “Nehammer takes positions similar to Kurz. But he obviously hopes to find an ally in Europe, especially in Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP). “