Scholz and Macron: friendly and constructive dialog

Paris (AFP) – The meeting on October 26 in Paris between French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was described as “a friendly and constructive dialog” by both sides, even though it came at a time when the relationship between the two countries was increasingly plagued by disagreements.

The meeting lasted three hours and ended with a tête-à-tête between Emmanuel Macron and Olaf. Scholz, enabling them to discuss “the perspectives towards which Europe wants to and must move.” In the coming weeks, the exchange should lead to “a very good and intensive cooperation,” said a German diplomatic source. For its part, the French Presidency also welcomed a “very constructive” exchange, during which the two leaders “discussed Franco-German relations in a spirit of very close cooperation in the medium and long term.”

During the meeting, the two leaders agreed that the European Union is facing “one of the greatest crises in its history.” According to German diplomatic sources, this led them to discuss – among other things – the issues of security and defense, energy, with a view to high energy prices and supply issues, and innovation. These three topics presently create tensions between the two capitals. (October 26)

Number of people wanting to leave the EU is on the rise again in Austria

Vienna (APA) – War, inflation and declining confidence in politics are leaving their mark on attitudes towards the EU in Austria. On October 26, Paul Schmidt, Secretary General of the Austrian Society for European Policy (ÖGfE), warned against the backdrop of a new survey on EU opinion trends, “while a clear majority continues to back Austria’s EU membership, the number of those considering to leave the Union is on the rise.”

According to the nationwide opinion poll conducted at the end of September on behalf of ÖGfE, almost two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) were in favor of Austria remaining a member of the European Union. 27 percent advocated leaving the Union. 9 percent answered “don’t know” or made no statement. The number of people in Austria who want to leave the EU is thus as high as it last was more than six years ago.

“Since the beginning of the Corona crisis, the number of those who would like to leave the EU has been increasing,” Schmidt analyzed. “Just before the outbreak of the pandemic in December 2019, the figure was a historically low 8 percent, but since then it has gradually risen by 19 percent. Over the same period, the number of those in favor of the EU has dropped by 11 from 75 to 64 percent, and the number of those who are unsure about the issue has declined by 8 percent.”

Since the beginning of Austria’s EU membership in 1995, the Austrian Society for European Policy has conducted a total of 66 nationwide surveys on this topic. They show that supporters of EU membership have always been in the majority. On average, according to ÖGfE, their number amounted to around 70 percent, while the number of those in favor of leaving the EU was just under 22 percent. (October 25)

Slovenia warns against undermining the agreement reached by EU leaders on limiting gas prices

Luxembourg (STA) – At a meeting of EU energy ministers on October 25 in Luxembourg, Slovenian Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer warned against undermining the agreement regarding measures to limit gas prices reached by EU leaders at the end of last week. According to him, Slovenia is in favor of limiting prices for long-term products as well.

“It is key that the entire winter is taken into account, meaning the entire heating season,” he said, adding that Slovenia was also pushing for extending the measure to the whole of next year. That way the EU would ensure stable annual prices. He continued that the inclusion of long-term products would also prevent speculators from switching from short-term to long-term.

In addition, according to Kumer, Slovenia advocates that the prices should not only be set at the end of the month for the following one, but should also cover a larger time period of past final prices. The price corridors should also be different for different products. The last time to agree on this package of measures, according to the minister, is 24 November, the date of the next Energy Ministers’ meeting. “However, I would not want to sacrifice quality in order to reach an agreement a week or so earlier,” concluded Minister Kumer. (October 25)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Wednesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.