Austria vs. Brussels

The case of the Austrian Europeanisation by stealth and the European Commissions’ (EC) recent letter of formal notice continues… The Austrian chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer thinks that the EC not only affects the Austrian higher education policies but also jeopardizes the Austrian health system. He has said he will resist Brussels’ push for equal access of all EU students to Austria’s medical faculties.

“Vienna and Berlin have been and are still in agreement on the quotas scheme, and it is preposturous that some doctrinaires describe something as discriminatory which is not being perceived as discriminatory at all by the governments concerned,” he added.

“It is a fact that more than 90 percent of German medical students at our universities return to Germany. It can’t be the task of the EU to jeopardize our health care. Those doctrinaires who are pushing for free educational access should broaden their perspective and take into account the effects on health care.”

“This is none of the commission’s business,” Mr Gusenbauer indicated, according to Germany’s Die Welt. “It should meanwhile ask itself whether it is not itself contributing to European citizens increasingly turning away from the institutions. Boundaries are being crossed here which should not be crossed.”

Germany and Austria agree with each other. However, the European Commission seems to think just a bit more ‘European’ than the Germans and the Austrians. It might be ‘none of the commissions business’ as Gusenbauer says, but let’s wait and see how the Commission and the European Court of Justice will respond.

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