Michael Linhart: Austria's new foreign minister is a Philhellene

Michael Linhart

Austrian Ambassador to France Michael Linhart will succeed Alexander Schallenberg as Foreign Minister after the latter was announced as new Austrian Chancellor following the resignation of Sebastian Kurz, an Austrian spokeswoman said in a statement.

Linhart, a career diplomat who served as foreign policy adviser to former Conservative Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, will be sworn in at the same ceremony as Schallenberg on Monday afternoon.

The diplomat served as Austrian Ambassador to Athens from 2007 to early 2012 and was always friendly to Greece.

It is worth noting that as Austrian Ambassador to Athens during the economic crisis, Linhart in his statements to Austrian media repeatedly expressed his belief that Greece will be able to overcome the crisis.

He stressed that the crisis can be dealt with jointly in Europe and that the solidarity of the member states of the European Union should be shown not only in good times, but also in difficult times.

Linhart also spoke at the Austrian Foreign Policy and United Nations Society in Vienna on "Greece in Crisis", which was coordinated by former Austrian Conservative Chancellor Schüssel and attended by dozens of foreign diplomats and public representatives.

The diplomat was openly in favor of providing assistance to Greece, but also in favor of the time needed to implement the reforms.

Warning that Greece should not be allowed to go bankrupt, the former ambassador to Athens had described the discussion about the country leaving the eurozone or its return to the drachma as stupid.

He stressed that recognition should be shown and respect for the Greek people for the sacrifices they made.

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