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We provide in-depth coverage of the European Forum Alpbach 2018.

Juncker slaps down Austrian “Muftis” call for tighter EU borders


Community faces political crisis

The European Union is an antidote to rising Nationalism in Europe, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission, said today.

Speaking to Alpbach Media Academy reporters he said: “We have to fight against nationalism, we have the duty not to follow populists but to block the avenue of populists.”

He quoted former French president Francois Mitterrand as saying nationalism added to nationalism would end in war. “This is still true so we have to fight against nationalism.”

Mr Juncker, who was in Alpbach for the official opening of the Forum, addressed the refugee crisis stating: “Borders are the worst invention ever made by politicians”. Solidarity must be given to refugees and their children, he said.

Franz Fischler and Jean-Claude Juncker
Jean-Claude Juncker arrives for the European Forum.

Mr Juncker retorted that the European Commission has delivered proposals on this, calling the governors „Landesobermuftis“ (Provincial High Muftis) and defended the Commission against frequent attack.

“The Comission deserves criticism, but of course, the governments have to share the blame.”

Jean-Claude Juncker defends the Commission in Alpbach.

Brexit was not a pretty moment which the EU must overcome. He said the Europe faced an unheard-of political crisis. “In the concentration of globalisation and European problems, we must not lose our way,” Mr Juncker said.

Mr Arno Kompatscher, governor of South Tyrol said he did not think that Mr Juncker’s “Obermufti” remark was meant to send a political message. “There must be space for a slangy comment in every speech,” he told Alpbach Media Academy.

Generally, Mr. Kompatscher said, he absolutely agreed with the content of Mr Juncker’s speech.

Uros Mamic, Lucy Thomas, Sophia Kichou and Matthias Humer, Alpbach Media Academy





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