Kurz and Seehofer want an "axis of the willing"

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has reached an agreement with German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on closer cooperation in refugee policy. Together with Rome, Berlin and Vienna are to form an "axis of the willing". Commentators are upset by the use of this historically-charged term for a cooperation that has yet to be clarified.

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Tageblatt (LU) /

A choice of words that ignores the past

Tageblatt is incensed at the Austrian chancellor's choice of words:

“Perhaps the conservative Kurz has forgotten what connotations such an 'axis' has in the rest of Europe. Because this axis already existed, back in 1936. In fact the memories of that axis sould be so bleak that everyone should be aware of the connotations the term carries. Perhaps - and this is the more likely variant - Kurz simply doesn't care. Kurz, the young mover and shaker, doesn't want to bother with the past. It seems too burdensome to him. Kurz, who also has no problem with the Nazi past of his coalition partner, wants to look dynamically to the future - looking back apparently cramps his style.”

Salzburger Nachrichten (AT) /

Bring states together instead of dividing them

The opposite of what should be done is happening now in Europe's migration policy, the Salzburger Nachrichten criticises:

“The whole situation cries out for a European solution. That's why the laborious quest for a consensus is necessary. But in fact the opposite is happening. Germany's interior minister Horst Seehofer wants to turn away registered asylum seekers already at the border, thus passing the problem on to neighbouring states and in a domino effect back to Italy and Greece. Austria's chancellor Sebastian Kurz wants to form an 'axis of the willing' with Rome and part of Berlin against illegal migration. This is creating new rifts in the EU. As we all know, US President George W. Bush used a similar term for his Iraq war and to divide Europe. The choice of words is getting more and more gruesome.”