VIENNA Jan 23 The leader of Austria's far-right
Freedom Party (FPO) has called for a referendum on whether the
country should give up the euro currency and said leaving the
European Union was a possibility, according to an interview in
Saying he was inspired by British Prime Minister David
Cameron's promise of a referendum on whether to leave the
European Union, FPO head Heinz-Christian Strache said 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 in comments released before publication on Thursday.
Strache, whose opposition party has consistently scored more
than 20 percent 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 euro zone 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 percent 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, but a minority of about
a third think adopting the euro was a mistake.