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Austria starts six-month stint as EU president

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Austria starts six-month stint as EU president


Austria has taken over the EU’s rotating presidency from Britain, with 2006 presenting some major challenges. Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel has said reviving Europe will be the nation’s main priority. He is hoping his new German counterpart will help him achieve that aim. Angela Merkel has travelled to Vienna in a show of solidarity. She has already proved her effectiveness in tricky EU negotiations, playing a crucial role in December in securing a last-minute deal on a long-term budget. One thorny topic that is yet to be resolved is the EU constitution. Its future lies in the balance after France and the Netherlands both gave it the thumbs-down. Austria’s EU presidency comes six years after the country was hit by sanctions from the bloc following the inclusion of a far-right party in its government.

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