Published On: Tue, Nov 7th, 2017

TIDE TURNING? Slap in face for Juncker as Austria appoints anti-EU Foreign Minister

Norbert Hofer, who has repeatedly attacked the EU over immigration, economic and security policies, will become the most important representative of the EU-critical Freedom Party (FPÖ) and take over the EU and world affairs agendas for Austria. 

Sebastian Kurz, leader of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), is holding coalition talks with the FPÖ to form a new government by Christmas.

Mr Hofer is considered a vehement critic of the notion of an superstate, and is cautious of Eurocrats.

FPÖ politicians have ultimately demanded Mr Kurz appoint a finance minister or a foreign minister of the far-right party or else they will force coalition talks to collapse. 

Populist Mr Hofer is smooth performer in front of the cameras and has been instrumental in helping the FPÖ shed some of the harsher aspects of its image.

He has previously said that carrying guns is a “natural consequence” of immigration. 

Hofer’s appointment is a clear slap in the face for European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker who has expressed wishes to isolate and use sanctions against any far-right or populist governments swept to power or presidential office on the wave of popular anger against migration. 

He has made clear that Mr Hofer would have been frozen out of EU decision-making when he stood to be President of Austria in 2016.

Mr Juncker said at the time: “There is no debate or dialogue with the far-right.”

Mr Hofer could use his position as foreign minister to influence other EU states to oppose Mr Juncker’s plans to impose a single tax system, one finance president and an EU army. 

Mr Kurz should form his new government by Christmas and will become the youngest head of government in Europe.

He campaigned on a platform that combined a hard line on immigration similar to the FPÖ with traditional conservative principles like slimming down the state and cutting taxes.

Daily Express :: News Feed