Sebastian Kurz


Sebastian Kurz

 
 
25th Chancellor of Austria
Incumbent
Assumed office
18 December 2017
President Alexander Van der Bellen
Deputy Heinz-Christian Strache
Preceded by Christian Kern
Chairman of the People’s Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
15 May 2017
Preceded by Reinhold Mitterlehner
Chair of the Organization for Security

and Co-operation in Europe

In office
1 January 2017 – 18 December 2017
Preceded by Frank Walter Steinmeier
Succeeded by Karin Kneissl
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
16 December 2013 – 18 December 2017
Chancellor Werner Faymann
Christian Kern
Preceded by Michael Spindelegger
Succeeded by Karin Kneissl
 
Personal details
Born (1986-08-27) 27 August 1986
Vienna, Austria
Political party People’s Party
Domestic partner Susanne Thier
Education University of Vienna
Signature
 

Sebastian Kurz (German pronunciation: [zeˈbastˌi̯a:n ˈkʊrt͡s]; ) is an Austrian politician (ÖVP) serving as Chancellor of Austria since 18 December 2017 and Chairman of the Austrian People’s Party since 15 May 2017. From 2014 to 2017 he was Austria’s minister for Europe, integration and foreign affairs.

Following the 2017 legislative elections, Kurz became the youngest head of government in the world, at the age of 31. He was surpassed in April 2018 by Matteo Ciacci, Captain-Regent of San Marino, who is 27.

Early life and education

Kurz was born in Vienna, the only child of Roman Catholic parents Josef and Elisabeth Kurz. His father is an engineer and his mother is a grammar school teacher.His maternal grandmother Magdalena Müller, born in Temerin in 1928, is a Danube Swabian who could only speak Hungarian, and who fled from Vojvodina in former Yugoslavia to Austria during World War II.

He was brought up in the Meidling district, where he still lives. He took his A levels in 2004 and then completed compulsory military service. In 2005, he began studying law at the University of Vienna, but later dropped out to focus on his political career.

Political career

Youth branch and parliament

In 2009 Kurz was elected chairman of the youth branch of the Austrian People’s Party. Between 2010 and 2011 he was a member of Vienna’s city council, where he focused on generational fairness and ensuring pensions. In April 2011, he was appointed to the newly created post of State Secretary for Integration (part of the Ministry of the Interior).

In the 2013 general election, Kurz was elected as a member of parliament, winning the most direct votes of any member of parliament in the election.

Foreign Minister of Austria (2013–2017)

Kurz with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, 28 April 2014
Kurz with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, 28 April 2014

In December 2013, Kurz became Austria’s foreign minister, whose portfolio at his own request was widened to include Social integration. At the time of his swearing-in Kurz was Austria’s youngest government minister since the foundation of the republic and the youngest foreign minister in the world.

His first trip abroad took Kurz to Croatia, marking the continuous Austrian support for that country’s accession to the European Union. In February 2014, he hosted the first of several rounds of negotiations on the nuclear program of Iran in Vienna, strengthening Austria’s position as a place of dialogue.

The negotiations were successfully concluded on 14 July 2015, when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed by Iran, the P5+1 and the European Union. Following the signature Sebastian Kurz said he was pleased with the outcome of the talks with Iran, and expressed his hope that “the Vienna Agreement will act as catalyst towards the global nuclear disarmament ambitions”.

During his first year in office, Kurz chaired the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe until May 2014.

In May 2014, as Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Sebastian Kurz invited 30 ministers of foreign affairs, among them Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian colleague Andrii Deshchytsia, to Vienna in order to negotiate solutions to end the Ukrainian crisis.

Kurz with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, 4 April 2016
Kurz with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, 4 April 2016

As part of the Humanitarian Initiative, Kurz hosted the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in late 2014. Following his proposal, Vienna later hosted the negotiations leading to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for the nuclear program of Iran in 2015.

In November 2014, Sebastian Kurz was appointed to lead the European People’s Party foreign affairs ministers together with Elmar Brok, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the EP.

Kurz with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, 11 July 2017
Kurz with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, 11 July 2017

In the course of the European migrant crisis in 2015, Kurz called for a more effective control of the EU external borders and presented a 50-point plan towards integration with special focus on the areas language and education, labour and job market, rule of law and values.

In 2015, Kurz proposed a new Islam law prohibiting the funding of mosques by entities from abroad, paying imams’ salaries, and regulating the version of the Quran that may be used in Austria. The law provides Muslims with additional rights, such as the right to halal food and pastoral care in the military. Kurz said the changes were intended to “clearly combat” the influence of radical Islam in Austria. The law passed by the Austrian parliament in February 2015 did not call for an authorized version of the Quran.

Amid the Turkish government purge against members of its own civil and military service in reaction to a failed coup d’état in July 2016, Kurz summoned Turkey’s ambassador to explain Ankara’s links to demonstrations of thousands of people in Austria in support of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Chairman of the Austrian People’s Party (2017–present)

Kurz was appointed acting party leader after former head Reinhold Mitterlehner stepped down in May 2017. He was later formally elected chairman, receiving 98.7 percent of the votes at a party convention in Linz. The delegates approved changes to the party statute, which put more power in the party leader’s hands, including the power to set party policy, the power to appoint party ministers, and the power to name candidates to stand for election.

Sebastian Kurz is speaking as new Chancellor in the upper chamber of the Austrian Parliament
Sebastian Kurz is speaking as new Chancellor in the upper chamber of the Austrian Parliament

Chancellorship

Kurz’s party won a plurality of seats in the 2017 legislative election. On 20 October, President Alexander van der Bellen officially asked Kurz to make suggestions about the formation of a new government. On 18 December the new coalition government was sworn in with Sebastian Kurz as Chancellor and Heinz-Christian Strache, chairman of the Freedom Party as vice chancellor.

Chancellor Kurz has, in many aspects, brought Austria closer to the Visegrad Group (V4), particularly the Eurosceptic and right-wing populist governments of Andrzej Duda in Poland, Viktor Orban in Hungary, and Milos Zeman in the Czech Republic. Although he ruled out Austria joining the bloc of Central European nations, Kurz has said Austria could serve as a bridge between Western and Central European nations within the European Union.[His government realized several convergences with Visegrad, namely in their common strong opposition to the asylum-seeker quota system.

Other activities

  • Austrian Development Agency, Chairman of the Advisory Council on Development Policy
  • Austrian Society for China Studies (ÖGCF), Member of the Board of Trustees
  • General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism, Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Trustees
  • Political Academy of the Austrian People’s Party, President (since 2015)
  • European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), Member

Sebastian Kurz

@sebastiankurz

Taken from Wikipedia

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