Austria takes over EU presidency with pledge for security

Austria takes over EU presidency with pledge for security
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, June 29, 2018. European Union leaders were set to assess the state of stalled Brexit negotiations on Friday, after British Prime Minister Theresa May warned them that failure to strike a good divorce deal could endanger European security. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

BERLIN (AP) — Austria has taken over the rotating presidency of the European Union with a pledge to better secure the 28-nation bloc’s external borders.

At a ceremony Saturday outside the Alpine town of Schladming, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the six-month presidency is “an honor for us, but also a great responsibility.”

Kurz says “we know that the international environment is difficult right now.”

Kurz came to power last year as the head of a right-wing coalition government with a pledge to restrict migration to Austria.

He supports setting up landing points for migrants outside the EU and strengthening the bloc’s Frontex border agency.

EU Council President Donald Tusk praised the Austrian motto for its presidency, “a Europe that protects.”