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On 1 July 2018, Austria assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the third time since its accession in 1995. The ÖVP is one of the two dominant parties of Austrian politics that have governed the country in the post-war period, and is currently in coalition with the far-right and often euro-critical Freedom Party of Austria.
The Chancellor faces challenges in separating his Government’s strongly stated positions in relation to many of the EU’s ongoing challenges, from its role as a broker in negotiations between EU Member States over the coming six months. However, given the significant agenda-setting and agenda-structuring powers afforded to the Council Presidency, Member States may instinctively view Austria as an ally or an opponent