Austria pledges ‘unconditional support’ to Ukraine’s EU accession
Austria will continue to stand behind Ukraine and support the war-torn country on its path to join the EU despite Austria’s tradition of neutrality, the President of the Austrian parliament, Wolfgang Sobotka, said during a speech in Kyiv on Tuesday.
Austria has had a long-standing tradition of neutrality that stems from the Cold War. However, during his speech, Sobotka emphasised that, politically speaking, Austria is not neutral and will support Kyiv on its path to join the EU.
Austria’s position had always been very clear when it came to “condemning the illegal, unjustified and unprovoked Russian war of aggression against Ukraine at all political levels, condemning the clear violation of international law and giving full support to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” he said.
According to data from the Institute for the World Economy (IFW), Austria has pledged €750 million to Ukraine so far, in addition to around €2.5 billion through various EU commitments – making it the 16th largest donor in the EU about its GDP, behind countries such as Sweden or Hungary.
Austria has, however, only delivered non-lethal military equipment due to its neutrality.
However, Austria has recently been in the crossfire for its continued dependence on Russian gas imports. As of July, the country was importing around 66% of its gas from Russia, compared to 79% before the war.
The EU representative in Vienna, Martin Selmayr, recently lashed out against the Austrian government for paying “blood money” to Russia, which led to a political outcry from the government.
Austria recently also warned that the danger of a nuclear war is higher than ever.
“The nuclear risks are greater than ever. We must break this vicious circle,” Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said in a statement.
“The nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime is under enormous pressure. We are in a seemingly hopeless predicament: standstill on disarmament, backtracking on non-proliferation,” he added.
(Oliver Noyan | Euractiv.de)