Speaking on the ORF on Sunday, foreign minister Sebastian Kurz said sanctions could be lifted in return for Russia implementing parts of the 12-point plan Minsk Protocol II agreed by both sides earlier this year.
“I believe that we should gradually come to a modus in which for every implementation of the Minsk Protocol, for every single step, sanctions will gradually be lifted in return,” he said, suggesting it was time the EU found common ground with Russia.
The peace plan for the disputed region in eastern Ukraine has faltered this year, however, and the EU looks set next week to extend the economic sanctions it placed on Russia for another six months.
Kurz to discuss migration plan with EU colleagues
Kurz also confirmed that he will discuss his “action plan” on migration and asylum with his colleagues in other EU member states.
Writing on social media today, he said he was on his way to a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg where he will outline suggestions from himself, Austria's Defence Minister and Interior Minister on “a European solution to the migrant crisis”.
Describing the migrant pressure from the African continent as “crazy”, he has defended his suggestion for a new asylum model in Europe, which takes inspiration from the Australian model of detaining asylum seekers on islands.
Meanwhile, the Austrian Chancellor Kern is talking in Vienna with the European Commission today over Austria’s refugee policy and the country’s role in helping Europe deal with large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers.
The EU announced measures last week to try and cope with the influx of people, including provided more support and funding to northern African countries and creating legal routes to Europe for migrants.
The UNHCR announced today – World Refugee Day – that there are now more displaced people in the world than there were in World War Two.
In total, they estimate by the end of last year there were a record 65.3 million refugees and internally displaced people.