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08/12/2016

Austria unlikely to follow UK, but calls for EU reform

UK & Europe

Austria unlikely to follow UK, but calls for EU reform

Vienna has moved to dispel the rumours that Austria will start down the same path as the UK.

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The overall response in Austria to the result of the UK’s referendum has been to call for closer cooperation and to put the EU on the path to reform. EurActiv Germany reports.

In a statement, the country’s new chancellor, Christian Kern, made it clear that Austria will not be drawn into the wake of anti-EU sentiment that Brexit has stirred up. Kern said that he is not expecting any sort of domino effect or a movement to hold a similar referendum.

However, the alpine republic’s leader said that the EU has been weakened as a result of the UK’s departure and that the continent faces diminished standing at a global level.

For Austria itself, Brexit is unlikely to hit too hard, as only 5% of trade is with the UK. Kern made it clear in his statement what must be done to avoid going down a similar path, pointing out that it is no wonder the population voted as it did given the opposition to Brussels that has been going on for over a decade.

FPÖ insistent on pursuing legal challenge against election result

In the Austrian presidential election, there were abnormalities when it came to how the postal votes were counted. The Freedom Party (FPÖ) has gone as far as to say the vote was rigged. But it appears that the extreme-right party is making mountains out of molehills. EurActiv Germany reports.

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For Austria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sebastian Kurz, said that there is no alternative to a united Europe and as a result the EU will have to inevitably borach the subject of reform.

As expected, the Freedom Party (FPÖ) said: “We congratulate the British for regaining their sovereignty. The result of the referendum has paved the way for democracy and against political centralism, but also against the continuing migration madness.” The FPÖ has stated its desire for a referendum in the same vein, but it currently looks unlikely to happen.

Further Reading

Archived: Britain votes to leave the European Union

The United Kingdom on Thursday (23 June) voted to leave the European Union, in a result that is likely to rock the 28-country bloc. Follow EurActiv's live feed for all the latest developments, as they happen.

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