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Austria's Kurz promises 'pioneering role' against climate change in coalition with Greens

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By Euronews  with AFP
Sebastian Kurz head of the Austrian People's Party
Sebastian Kurz head of the Austrian People's Party   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Ronald Zak   -   Ronald Zak

Austria's conservative leader Sebastian Kurz is set to become chancellor again after his People's Party (ÖVP) entered into an unlikely coalition with the Greens.

The 33-year-old leader commended an "excellent" agreement at a press conference with Greens party chief Werner Kogler, but said that talks had not been easy because the "two parties are very very different".

Kurz said his party's coalition deal with the Greens "offers ``the best of both worlds'' and will allow both partners to keep their election promises.

“We will play a pioneering role in Europe in the field of climate change, environmental protection, and transparency", Kurz said. "Just as we pay attention to internal security, we will continue to fight against illegal migration, and of course, also lower taxes, as we promised in the election campaign.”

Werner Kogler, who will become the country's vice-chancellor, said the parties had successfully "built bridges" for "the future of Austria".

Kurz's former coalition with the far-right Freedom Party fell apart earlier this year after German newspapers released footage showing vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache offering public contracts to a Russian campaign backer.

Read more: Austria scandal: What we know about the video which brought down the government

Freedom Party ministers resigned in mass before Kurz was eventually ousted by a no-confidence vote.

But in September's snap parliamentary elections, Kurz and his party came first, winning 37.5% of the vote.

The election also resulted in the Greens increasing their support significantly, coming fourth in the election, with 13.9% of the vote.

Kurz announced in November that his party had entered into talks with the Greens.

The new coalition will now have to be approved by the Greens' party congress.