Austria's coalition government promised on Monday to ban Muslim face-covering veils and to restrict eastern European workers' access to the labor market, in a package of policies aimed at countering the rise of the far-right Freedom Party.

The anti-Islam Freedom Party (FPO) has topped opinion polls for months, boosted by the influx of more than a million migrants into Europe in the past two years and concerns over their impact on jobs and security. Last month the FPO candidate came close to winning Austria's presidential election.

With a parliamentary election due next year, Chancellor Christian Kern of the Social Democratic Party (SPO) hopes the package will provide fresh impetus to an eight-month-old coalition widely seen as ineffective.

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