Austrian conservative Sebastian Kurz’s party, which needs a coalition partner to form a government, is courting the far-right Freedom Party. Talks between the two parties began in earnest on October 30.
Both parties toe similar hard lines on immigration. They have also promised billions in tax cuts and said much of the funding will come from greater efficiency in Austria’s administration, which includes a generous welfare state.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, the two parties laid out a roadmap for negotiations at their first round of talks last week. An overview of the country’s finances was the main order of business at their second meeting on October 30.
“What we can say today is that there is a significant potential for greater efficiency and that of course we will sound out in the coming days what can be done politically,” Elisabeth Koestinger, chairwoman of Kurz’s party and part of his negotiating team, told a news conference after the October 30 talks.
“We did not find any holes,” the Freedom Party’s deputy leader, Norbert Hofer, who came close to winning last year’s presidential election, told the news conference.
“The issue will be better administering this state, reducing loss-causing inefficiencies and then making this released potential available through [tax] relief,” he added.
According to Reuters, talks in the 10-person group that includes Kurz and Heinz-Christian Strache will continue through the week and negotiations in 20 more specialised groups will begin on October 31.