Austria's new coalition government will not hold a referendum on membership of the European Union, incoming vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) said today.

The new government wants more Swiss-style "direct democracy" making it easier for referendums to take place, but Austria's membership of the EU is "excluded," Mr Strache said.

"We stand by the European Union, we stand by the peace project of Europe. But we see various developments critically, and we will of course articulate this and seek partners," Mr Strache told reporters.

Mr Strache has in the past been ambivalent about EU membership, calling Brussels a "bureaucratic monster" and saying that Britain will "probably be better off" after it leaves the bloc.

Sebastian Kurz of the conservative People's Party (OeVP), who will be chancellor in the new coalition, said that the new government is "of course" pro-European.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

However Mr Kurz said that during Austria's presidency of the EU in the second half of 2018, Vienna will press for more "subsidiarity", meaning that member states and not Brussels have control in certain areas.

"We have agreed a clear pro-EU stance with the aim of boosting subsidiarity in the EU," Mr Kurz said, favouring an EU that is "stronger in big questions and which should step back on smaller issues".

According to the joint programme released today, the government wants more cooperation with Austria's central and eastern European neighbours, whose relations with Brussels have at times been fraught.

It also wants to contribute to an improvement of relations between the West and Russia.

The FPOe, which has a partnership with Russia's ruling party, has called for EU sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine to be lifted.

The programme also said the government will not agree to Turkey joining the bloc.

It will "seek allies in achieving a definitive break in (Turkey's) membership talks, in favour of an EU-Turkey neighbourhood concept," the programme said.

Austrian far-right gets interior, defence, foreign ministries

Austria's far-right has secured the interior, defence and foreign ministries in the new coalition government with the conservatives, Mr Strache said today.

The OeVP party will have the finance, economy and justice ministries, Mr Kurz said.

"The president was clear that he wanted the justice and interior ministries to be held by different parties," Mr Kurz said.

Austrian conservatives led by Mr Kurz earlier reached a coalition deal with the anti-immigration Freedom Party, paving the way for Austria to become the only western European country with a far-right party in government.

The agreement, two months after a parliamentary election dominated by Europe's migration crisis, ends more than a decade in opposition for the Freedom Party (FPO), which last entered government in 2000 with the People's Party (OVP) that Mr Kurz now leads.

Mr Kurz's party won the 15 October election with a hard line on immigration that often overlapped with the Freedom Party's. The FPO came third with 26% of the vote.