Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Monday in Vienna said EU countries must close ranks in the face of pressures from the new U.S. administration and from Russia.

“We are witnessing a new delineation of the world.

“It would be a mistake for European countries to seek individual answers to current challenges, rather than EU-wide solutions.
U.S President Donald Trump openly tried to weaken the EU, while there were similar efforts in our eastern neighbourhood,’’ Kern said in an indirect reference to Russia.

He called for a “phase of closing ranks’’ within the EU.

Kern and Gabriel also stressed that the EU should focus more on the most vulnerable members of society, and on delivering prosperity to all.

The plight of the lower class and the shrinking of the middle class have regained the attention of politicians across Western countries in recent months after populists won votes in Britain and the U.S. in 2016.

However, Germany elected a new parliament in September, while Austria did one year later.

Gabriel was scheduled to travel to Rome on Monday to meet Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano.



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