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The unelected president of the European Union’s (EU) executive arm has urged the democratically elected Austrian premier to form a “pro-European” government. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker made the comments in a letter to Sebastian Kurz, whose Christian Democrat Austrian People’s Party (OVP) topped the polls with 31.7 per cent of the vote. The right-wing Freedom Party (FPO) came in second place on 27.4 per cent, above the Social Democrats (SPO) on 26.8 per cent. Whilst the SPO is pro-EU, the FPO is Eurosceptic, promising to hold a referendum on withdrawing Austria from future EU bailouts and opposing EU migration policy.
Mr. Kurz is expected to form a coalition government with the FPO, which could be hostile to the EU and form alliances with other Eurosceptic governments like Hungary. Mr. Juncker’s intervention, therefore, could be seen as the EU president pushing Mr. Kurz to go into coalition with the SPO rather than the FPO.