Austria’s News in English: August 12 – 18

Welcome to the latest edition of MyExpatCommunity’s Austria’s News in English feature! Here we’ll provide you with snippets of the most important news from the last couple of weeks so you can stay up to date.

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1. Possible connection between Ibiza and Shredder-Gate

Ibiza, Shredder-gate, övp, fpö
The Public Prosecutor’s Office against Corruption is suspecting a connection between the Ibiza video, that is burdening former FPÖ grandees and the shredding of hard drives of the Chancellor’s Office by an ÖVP employee. The suspected connection was first verbalized by Minister of Justice Clemens Jabloner, who was being questioned by the NEOs.

The ÖVP had denied several times having known about the video before it became publicly available. Also, ÖVP chair Sebastian Kurz repeatedly insisted that it was not stored on the destroyed hard drives. The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating currently against the former employee who destroyed the hard drives. He is accused of fraud, criminal damage, and data damage.

Source: Der Standard


2. Judiciary defends itself against attacks by ÖVP

corruption. ÖVP, Ibiza, shredder-gate
With the judiciary branch looking into the possible connection of the ÖVP to the Ibiza video, ÖVP chairman Sebastian Kurz has accused them of dirty campaigning against him and his party. The public prosecutors have rejected any partisan motive. While they didn’t respond to the exact phrasing of Kurz, spokeswoman Cornelia Koller stated in an interview with Der Standard, that the prosecutors would investigate every report on the basis of its content unrelated on who brought it to their attention and that there are specific legal regulations in place on how to deal with these situations.

The ÖVP is currently threatening everyone with legal action who states that the party had a hand in the Ibiza video. According to spokeswoman Koller, the procedure of the current investigation is according to legal standards. Additionally, the judiciary as a state authority cannot be formally sued.

Source: Der Standard


3. ÖVP names ban of Identitarian Movement as coalition condition

identitarian, övp, coalition
After refusing a possible involvement of FPÖ politician Herbert Kickl in the next government, the ÖVP has now also declared a ban of the right-wing Identitarian movement as a condition to form a coalition. Furthermore, the party demanded an extremism report by the BVT (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism).

The party wants to achieve this by changing the association law so the Identitarian movement can be dissolved. Currently, an association can only be dissolved if they break criminal law. The ÖVP wants to extend the right of the authorities to associations disseminating extremist and or subversive ideas. Herbert Kickl and Norbert Hofer have already criticized the demand of the ÖVP to ban the movement, calling it an attack on the rule of law.

Source: Der Standard


4. Environmental assessment of laws

climate change, general election, austria

Heading into the election phase before September 29, the parties are now taking up the cause of climate protection, a topic that received very little attention during the last elections in 2017. ÖVP, SPÖ, Neos, Liste Jetzt and the Green Party have all spoken out in favor of examining laws in accordance with their climate compatibility. The FPÖ is more hesitant, arguing for a non-binding “sustainability check”.

Source: Die Presse


5. Problems on the western railway route

western railway, construction

Starting on August 19 to September 8, 2800 trains on the western railway route will be canceled due to construction work. Four construction sites between Straßwalchen and Salzburg will turn the route into a single-track connection. Not affected by these restrictions are the Railjet Xpress trains (RJX) of the ÖBB, these will keep going at their regular intervals. The Westbahn trains will also travel at their regular times, except for trains traveling to and from Wien Praterstern. They will not go to Salzburg, but only to Attnang-Puchheim.

The Railjets (RJ) of the ÖBB to and from Vienna will end in Vöcklabruck. The ÖBB recommends changing trains in Linz and taking the RJX to Salzburg. Travelers from Wels and Attnang-Puchheim as well as those going to Neumarkt- Köstendorf can use the regional trains leaving from Vöcklabruck. The ÖBB will further provide a replacement bus service between Straßwalchen and Salzburg. Further information can be found at www.oebb.at or the app Scotty mobil.

Source: Die Presse


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