Austrians have collected almost three times the required 100,000 signatures to start a debate regarding a possible referendum for the country’s exit from the EU.
Exactly 261,159 Austrians signed the petition to make the parliament discuss a potential referendum. In total, the number of signatures corresponded to 4.12 percent of votes if a they were to all vote to exit the EU in a referendum.
The head of the petition, Inge Rauscher, led a similar campaign in 2000.
Rauscher told Sputnik News that although the media did not cover the petition campaign, the campaign managed to get a “successful result.”
“Many people are worried by the rising prices of everyday household items. They understand that the EU path is wrong. They lost the right to choose in their own country. The EU is no democracy, it's a violent regression in the development of democracy," Rauscher added.
"Our country has rising unemployment and a growing national debt. It's getting worse in every sphere. We get meaningless instructions from Brussels which cost a lot of money and demand a lot of bureaucratic nonsense from us."
Rauscher also mentioned that joining the EU did not make the current situation in Austria better, saying "nothing got better by joining the EU, including the environment. Transit flows increased greatly. Animal protection legislation, which was very good in Austria, was immediately destroyed by EU policy."
Rauscher has worked against the EU since the start of Austria’s membership. She believed Austria must leave the EU for its own economical, social and environmental development.
Austria, which has a 4.3 percent unemployment rate, in 2012 had one of the highest GDP rates among EU member countries.
An in/out referendum, similar to what Rauscher is offering, is planned for the UK before 2017. Current polls conducted by YouGov claim that while 38 percent of voters support the UK’s exit, 44 percent want to stay in the EU.
Denmark also conducted a similar referendum in 2013. 52 percent of Danes wanted to stay in the EU, while 47 percent of them supported leaving.