Austria’s chancellor said on Friday it's high time EU national governments revamp the bloc's foundational 2007 Lisbon Treaty to better adjust to the challenges the continent is facing.
In an interview with Austrian newspapers, Sebastian Kurz deplored the failings of the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, which he claimed desperately needs "rejigging".
"A new treaty is needed with clearer sanctions for members who run up debts, punishments for countries that wave through illegal migrants without registering them, as well as tough consequences for breaches of the rule of law and liberal democracy," said Kurz.
According to the chancellor, any reform, requiring the approval of all 28 national governments, should put an end to MEPs shuttling between Strasbourg and Brussels, as he advocated for the European Parliament to be permanently based in the Belgian capital. France has been reluctant to give up its European Parliament site in Strasbourg, as French President Emmanuel Macron looks to push his own ambitious vision of reforming Europe.
While supporting a renewed focus for the EU on security and foreign policy, Kurz said he was against the prospect of a common European army, something Macron has pushed for since his arrival in power.
Kurz said Brussels should better focus on increasing military and defence cooperation.
"There will be no EU army, with member states giving up command," he said.
As for the next European commissioner, who is set to be appointed later this year, Kurz — who, at 32, is the EU's youngest national leader — said that what is really needed in Brussels is a generational change at the top, guided by a new policy direction.