Saturday, 28 March 2020

Schwarzenberg: Hofer's win may weaken Austria

ČTK |
25 August 2016

Vienna, Aug 24 (CTK) - Vienna's position in European and world politics would be weakened if Norbert Hofer from the Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) wins the repeated Austrian presidential election in autumn, former Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg told the Austrian paper Profil on Wednesday.

Austria's withdrawal from the EU, demanded by some FPOe officials, would be a madness, Schwarzenberg, former Czech presidential candidate, said.

"I do not know Hofer personally, but if I take a look at his political views, I can see that it would not be good for Austria if he became the president," Schwarzenberg, former head of president Vaclav Havel's office and supporter of Czechoslovak dissidents, said.

Hofer does not hold any firm views of the relation to the EU, due to which Brussels would not consider him a reliable partner, Schwarzenberg said.

"With such games of his, Hofer as a president would undermine the Austrian position both in the EU and the whole world," he added.

Schwarzenberg went on to criticise many Austrian politicians being critical of the EU now, while one could also hear the voices that Vienna should follow the British example with Auxit.

"Austria's leaving the EU would be a madness. We must take a look at the Austrian position. Except for Switzerland and Liechtenstein it is only surrounded by EU countries," he added.

"Most exports go to the EU. Due to this, we can say that we need such a referendum as a hole in the head," Schwarzenberg said.

He directly supported Hofer's rival, former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen.

"In the past 20 years, Van der Bellen did not come up with any statement which would have made me angry. Unfortunately, this is not the same with Hofer," Schwarzenberg said.

The second round of the Austrian presidential election will be repeated in October.

According to the latest polls, Hofer is backed by 52 percent and Van der Bellen by 48 percent of Austrians.

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