A coalition deal has been clinched between Austria’s conservative People’s Party, led by Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, and the country’s right-wing Freedom Party, headed by Heinz-Christian Strache.
31-year old Sebastian Kurz will become Austria’s new chancellor and the youngest leader in Europe after his People’s Party (OVP) reached a consensus with Heinz-Christian Strache’s right-wing Freedom Party (FPO) on the formation of a coalition government.
Announcing a “turquoise-blue agreement” on Friday, Kurz, nicknamed “wunderwuzzi” (whiz kid), pledged to “inform the president about our program and our team.”
“We want to reduce the burden on taxpayers… and above all we want to ensure greater security in our country, including through the fight against illegal immigration,” he said.
Strache, for his part, said that “voters gave us a clear mandate to take into account their concerns, particularly when it comes to their security.”
Kurz and Strache have discussed the coalition deal since the October 15 election, in which the OVP won without securing ab overwhelming majority.
During their election campaigns, both men specifically called for tougher migration rules, and the swift deportation of asylum seekers whose requests were rejected.
Media reports have, meanwhile, said that the two’s deal may pave the way for Austria becoming the only western European country with a right-wing party in the government.
Strache has proposed in the past that the country align itself with the Visegrad Group, an alliance of Eastern European nations that has voiced strong opposition to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s plans for accommodating migrants. Last month, Juncker stressed the need for the European Union to “create legal ways” for “poor and needy” African migrants to be able to enter Europe.