Monday 16 July 2018

Taoiseach meets millennial who replaced him as Europe's youngest leader

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

LEO Varadkar's stint as Europe's youngest leader didn't last long and this evening he met the man who took his place.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (31), welcomed the Taoiseach to Vienna for talks on Brexit, the future EU budget, and a night at the Opera.

Mr Kurz became Europe's first 'millennial' head of government  in December.

Speaking after their meeting thirty-nine year-old Mr Varadkar congratulated Mr Kurz on his election and noted "I was once the youngest head of government in Europe.... briefly".

He also revealed Mr Kurz's Irish connection - he spent time in Bray, Co Wicklow learning English.

Mr Kurz thanked Mr Varadkar for an "excellent conversation" and said he was looking forward to welcoming him to the Opera Ball.

There were also serious matters up for discussion.

Mr Kurz pledged Austria's support for Ireland in the seeking to avoid a hard border with the North post-Brexit.

He said it's essential there's a "good solution" to Brexit talks between Britain and the European Union.

Amid continued uncertainty on what kind of Brexit is being sought by the divided British government Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned "time is running out".

He said: "I think at this stage having clarity as to what the UK would like its new relationship to be like... would be very welcome."

He added: "I am not losing patience but time is running out, March 2019 isn't all that far away now."

Mr Kurz's People's Party won the most seats in Austria's national election last October and later formed a coalition with the controversial far-right Freedom Party.

He previously served as foreign minister from the tender age of 27 and hosted talks between Iran and the United States.

Online Editors

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