Austria’s Kurz criticizes EU’s incompetence

– China building hospital in 10 days, it could take EU members 10 days to agree when to have their first meeting, he says

MUNICH (AA) – Austrian Chancellor Sebastion Kurz sharply criticized the Europen Union for its incompetence in economic decision-making, and argued that Europe’s economic decline was also undermining support for Western democracies.

“If we look at China for example, they are able to build a hospital in 10 days, in Europe we would have a debate about 10 days when to have the first meeting to discuss it,” Kurz said on Friday, in remarks at the Munich Security Conference.

“…and then it would take years to decide, and then it would probably take years to build it,” he added.

The 31-year-old conservative politician argued that Western democracies were more attractive in the past, and this was closely related to the economic success of the Western countries.

“In the past, democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, always was hand in hand with economic success, with growth, with wealth. And now, we live in a time, where other systems can be economically successful as well. And I think this is something that changes the whole game,” Kurz said.

Munich Security Conference, the world’s biggest security conference, is bringing together political and military leaders from all over the world in Munich from Feb. 14-16.

This year the conference is focusing on domestic and international challenges to liberal world order and crises faced by Western democracies.

More than 35 heads of government and state, and around 100 foreign and defense ministers are attending the conference.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary for Defense Mark Esper, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will be among the participants.