Cameron’s referendum gives ideas to Austrian far-right

The leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) has called for a referendum on whether the country should give up the euro and said leaving the European Union was a possibility, according to a newspaper interview.

Saying he was inspired by British Prime Minister David Cameron's promise of a referendum on whether to leave the European Union, FPÖ head Heinz-Christian Strache the daily Österreich this was just the kind of direct democracy Austria needed as well.

"If the EU develops into a centralised super-state then the final consequence for Austria would be an EU exit. I would rather have an alliance with Switzerland," Strache said.

"It would make sense to have a referendum on a euro exit," he said.

Strache, whose opposition party has consistently scored more than 20% in opinion polls in the run-up to parliamentary elections due by September, has long been a eurosceptic.

He has opposed bailouts of struggling countries in the currency bloc, and proposed splitting the eurozone into two camps: economically stronger northern European countries and weaker ones on the periphery.

Billionaire auto parts magnate Frank Stronach, whose new party gets around 10% support in polls, is another vociferous critic of the euro.

But the governing coalition of centre-left Social Democrats and the centre-right People's Party is staunchly pro-Europe.

Opinion polls show most Austrians are glad their export-dependent economy uses the euro.

Further Reading