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Austria May Hold EU Membership Referendum if Bloc Centralizes Power

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If the EU imposes a more centralized governance, Austria will likely hold a referendum on it membership, Austrian far-right Freedom Party’s candidate in the presidential elections said.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Austria will have nothing to do but conduct a nationwide referendum on its EU membership if the bloc imposes more centralized governance after Brexit, Austrian far-right Freedom Party’s candidate in the presidential elections Norbert Hofer said Thursday.

"If the answer to Brexit would be to make a centralized European Union, where the national parliaments are disempowered and where the union is governed like a state. In this case, we would have to hold a referendum in Austria, because it would lead to a constitutional change," the Austrian presidential candidate told the BBC.

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The European Union is important for Austria, Hofer noted, expressing, nevertheless, his desire to see a "better" bloc. The presidential candidate added that it was unlikely for Turkey to become part of the European Union any time soon.

Hofer lost the May presidential elections to independent candidate Van der Bellen. However, Austria's Constitutional Court ruled in July that ballots and voting results had been handled improperly and annulled the results. The election re-run is scheduled for December 4.

The United Kingdom made a decision to leave the European Union on June 23 in a referendum, where almost 52 percent of the country's population voted to quit the bloc.

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