Europe

AP Interview: Austrian minister says less is more for EU

  • Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz poses for a photo during an interview with The Associated Press in Vienna, Austria, Friday, March 17, 2017. Kurz sees reforms that shift power on many issues to members from EU bodies as essential for EU survival. And he says he measure the success of Austria’s EU presidency in the second half of 2018 on that score. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz poses for a photo during an interview with The Associated Press in Vienna, Austria, Friday, March 17, 2017. Kurz sees reforms that shift power on many issues to members from EU bodies as essential for EU survival. And he says he measure the success of Austria’s EU presidency in the second half of 2018 on that score. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

  • Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Vienna, Austria, Friday, March 17, 2017. Kurz sees reforms that shift power on many issues to members from EU bodies as essential for EU survival. And he says he measure the success of Austria’s EU presidency in the second half of 2018 on that score. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Vienna, Austria, Friday, March 17, 2017. Kurz sees reforms that shift power on many issues to members from EU bodies as essential for EU survival. And he says he measure the success of Austria’s EU presidency in the second half of 2018 on that score. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

  • Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Vienna, Austria, Friday, March 17, 2017. Kurz sees reforms that shift power on many issues to members from EU bodies as essential for EU survival. And he says he measure the success of Austria’s EU presidency in the second half of 2018 on that score. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Vienna, Austria, Friday, March 17, 2017. Kurz sees reforms that shift power on many issues to members from EU bodies as essential for EU survival. And he says he measure the success of Austria’s EU presidency in the second half of 2018 on that score. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

Austria's foreign minister suggests that less is more when it comes to the European Union.

Sebastian Kurz tells The Associated Press in an interview that the EU needs to "focus on the big questions," such as secure borders, common defense and security, while letting members deal with less elemental issues.

Austria will assume the EU's presidency next year.

Kurz says most bloc members agree in the wake of the large influx of migrants Europe saw in 2015 and 2016 that strong controls on EU external borders are imperative.

He said Friday that a willingness to send migrants who enter the continent illegally to centers outside Europe must be part of a common immigration strategy.

Austria assumes the EU's rotating six-month presidency in the second half of 2018.