World News

Austria's foreign minister suggests halving number of EU commissioners

Austria's Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz addresses a news conference in Vienna, Austria February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has suggested efficiency measures for the European Union including cutting the number of commissioners to 14 and abolishing two existing rules for each new rule it adopted, local media reported on Wednesday.

Kurz told Austrian media that commissioners should be appointed according to a rota system among the member states, reports confirmed by a foreign ministry spokesman, rather than every member state providing its own commissioner.

He also wants to strengthen the bloc’s common foreign and security policy and support so-called EU battle groups in securing external border controls.

“The European Union is too weak at major issues and too dominant in minor segments,” Kurz said.

The EU’s chief executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, presents a white paper to the European Parliament on Wednesday on shoring up the bloc after Britain starts its withdrawal process.

Austria takes the EU Presidency for six months in July 2018.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Louise Ireland