Austrian chancellor warns of tensions within EU

Sebastian Kurz says EU should do everything it can to avoid 'hard Brexit' in which London leaves bloc without deal

Austrian chancellor warns of tensions within EU

There are "too many tensions" within the European Union, Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Monday, just a few days before hosting EU talks on immigration.

"There are far too many tensions in the European Union, between the east and west and north and south," Kurz said ahead of a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Austrian chancellor said his trip to Paris aims to "support all those that want to be bridge-builders."

"We can all agree that the European Union can only be successful if we work together and if we act together," he added.

As it currently holds the European Union's rotating presidency, Austria will be hosting an informal EU summit in the city of Salzburg on Wednesday and Thursday.

The chancellor also said Britain's European Union partners should do everything in their power to avoid a "hard Brexit" in which London leaves the bloc without a deal.

"I think that we agree that we have to do everything possible to avoid a hard Brexit," Kurz said.

Macron, for his part, added that it was "essential that we reach an agreement [on Brexit], that the rules of cohesion and protection of Europe, of its single market, are fully maintained while the United Kingdom respects the vote by its people."