For the Austrian government, the forthcoming Presidency of the European Union (EU) is much more troublesome than when it ﬁrst played this role in 1998, just three years after joining. Not only is the government’s domestic position far from secure, but expectations are running high on the back of a lack-lustre British performance and there is much pressure on Vienna to revive EU fortunes.
The government has hinted it will reignite the EU Draft Constitution debate, despite its rejection by France and Holland in June, and has already adopted the slogan Europe 4 people – people 4 Europe. Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, stated in September: ‘We are undergoing a crisis of conﬁdence in the EU. Our priority aim will therefore be to strengthen public conﬁdence in the EU. Better and more ample information is not enough; the way in which we make European policy must become more visible and comprehensive again’.