The Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be run by Middle East expert Karin Kneissl, who repeatedly criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel's policies, made tough statements regarding migration and called Jean-Claude Juncker "cynical" and "arrogant," according to the Austrian TV and Radio Company ORF.
During the refugee crisis, the diplomat slammed Merkel for her "grossly negligent" stance toward migrants, especially following sexual attacks in Cologne during New Year's Eve 2016, the media source noted.
In addition, for many years Kneissl supported the idea of Catalonia's secession from Spain, a stance that raises further questions about her candidacy among European experts and politicians.
"Already in 2012, she had shown clear sympathy for Catalonia's independence, which would cause irritation on the European diplomatic scene today," ORF stated.
German Spiegel magazine described possible consequences of her appointment as "the biggest unknown" in the future of European politics.
"The Arabist and lawyer, who lived in Jerusalem and Amman, is, among other things, a well-known EU critic," the magazine noted.
The announcement of Kneissl's candidacy came on Saturday after Sebastian Kurz's People's Party (OVP) reached a consensus with Heinz-Christian Strache's right-wing Freedom Party (FPO) on the formation of a coalition government.
Members of the FPO will hold key ministerial posts in the government, including the vice chancellor, as well as the foreign, interior and defense ministers.