Sunday, December 17, 2017

New Austrian government rules out EU referendum

New Austrian government
Austria's new coalition government will not hold a referendum on membership of the European Union, incoming vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) said today.

The new government wants more Swiss-style "direct democracy" making it easier for referendums to take place, but Austria's membership of the EU is "excluded," Mr Strache said.

"We stand by the European Union, we stand by the peace project of Europe. But we see various developments critically, and we will of course articulate this and seek partners," Mr Strache told reporters.

Mr Strache has in the past been ambivalent about EU membership, calling Brussels a "bureaucratic monster" and saying that Britain will "probably be better off" after it leaves the bloc.

Sebastian Kurz of the conservative People's Party (OeVP), who will be chancellor in the new coalition, said that the new government is "of course" pro-European.

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