Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern has accused some European Union member states of treating the union like a “cash machine,” accepting financial assistance from Brussels while shirking their responsibilities to the bloc – especially when it comes to refugees.
In an exclusive interview Mr. Kern, a center-left Social Democrat, called for more unity across the 28-nation bloc and singled out Poland and Hungary for refusing to take in refugees while receiving billions in subsidies from Brussels. He said the EU has tried to appeal to Warsaw and Budapest’s sense of European solidarity, but to no avail.
For all his calls for greater solidarity, Mr. Kern, who faces a tough re-election battle in October, defended his own government’s move to reintroduce border controls at the Brenner Pass at the Italian border. The Austrian defense minister, Hans Peter Doskozil, this week said Vienna may even deploy troops to ensure no migrants cross the border. Italy responded by summoning Austria’s ambassador to Rome.