Austria's Kurz: German conservatives right to shun far-right

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has endorsed his German conservative counterparts' refusal to cooperate with the far-right Alternative for Germany

Regional CDU lawmakers defied advance appeals from the party's national leader, who this week announced that she would step down, and broke what is widely regarded as a taboo in post-war German politics around cooperating with extremist parties.

Kurz, who governed with Austria's far-right Freedom Party as his junior coalition partner until a scandal surrounding that party's then-leader brought down the government last year, said he sees differences between the Freedom Party — a long-running fixture in Austrian politics — and the upstart AfD, which has moved steadily further right in recent years.

“I think it is sensible that the (CDU) party has decided clearly that there must be no cooperation with AfD,” Kurz said at the Munich Security Conference.

Kurz returned to power in January after a seven-month absence, this time at the head of a strikingly different coalition with the environmentalist Greens. He suggested that a similar combination might come together after the next German election, due next year.