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Brussels/Vienna – Austria has, as previously announced, joined the air defense initiative “Sky Shield.” On Tuesday, Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner (ÖVP) signed a corresponding declaration with Germany. The Sky Shield initiative is a response to the Russian attack on Ukraine and aims to establish a stronger air defense shield over Europe.

“This step today is very important for the safety of Austrians,” Tanner explained to journalists in Brussels before the signing. As a neutral state, it is “imperatively necessary that we protect ourselves from threats from the air,” that “we protect Austrians from drones, cruise missiles.”

Right-wing parties, with their criticism of the signing, “are embarking on a security policy path that can only be described as risky,” said the minister when asked whether Austria’s participation in further military EU initiatives was planned following the accession to Sky Shield. “Sky Shield will be the spearhead of neutrality,” Tanner said. According to the Austrian constitution, “neutrality must be protected by all available means.” The signing of the so-called “Memorandum of Understanding” took place on the sidelines of a meeting of EU defense ministers. (28.05.2024)