EU election crucial for Europe's role: Austrian president

Wednesday, 2019-01-02 16:27:18
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The European Parliament election in May will determine whether Europe will play a role on a global level in the future or whether it will be the "ball of other powers", Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto agreed on January 1.

Van der Bellen made the remarks at a joint press conference after meeting with Niinisto, his guest at the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year Concert, Austrian Press Agency reported.

"It will show whether Europe is moving in the direction of nationalism, thereby weakening itself" or whether the member states will be aware of what European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker meant in his speech on the state of the European Union (EU) last September, Van der Bellen said.

The EU can not just leave the world to other major powers and that's why EU has to act united, Niinisto noted.

In his final State of the Union Address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg last September, Juncker urged the EU to take control of its destiny, and claim a place at the center stage of global politics. "We will always be a global player but it is time we started being a global player too," he said.