Austria’s News in English: May 20 – 26
Welcome to the latest edition of MyExpatCommunity’s Austrian News in English feature! Here we’ll provide you with snippets of the most important Austrian news of the last couple of weeks so you can stay up to date.
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1. Possible Motion of No Confidence Against Kurz
Since the first appearance of the compromising Ibiza video on Friday, not only has Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache resigned, but all the FPÖ ministers as well. The reason given was that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) demanded that the controversial Minister of Interior Herbert Kickl should take his hat too. With experts filling in the vacant position until the elections in autumn, it is now Kurz himself that might have to fear for his position. The opposition has announced to maybe hold a vote of no confidence against Kurz next week, for reasons as him being the one who not only enabled the FPÖ to join the government, but also sought no contact in discussing the transitional government.
Kurz, who is clearly backed into a corner, is now trying to vow the opposition with offers, such as continuing the current investigation committees after the election, the participation of the party leaders in Council of Ministers, and a task force in the Ministry of Infrastructure to evaluate the allocation of state commissions. The current opposition parties JETZT and SPÖ, as well as the disgraced FPÖ, have shown little enthusiasm for these propositions and are calling them a natural concomitant. While JETZT has already announced to file a motion of no confidence on Monday, FPÖ and SPÖ are still waging whether or not to join this motion.
Source: Der Standard
2. New Minister of Interior Takes Back Last Official Acts by Kickl
The new Minister of Interior, Eckart Ratz, has undone the controversial €1.50 wage for refuges act by Herbert Kickl. He also removed the last minute appointed Interim Director General for public security, Peter Goldgruber. Goldgruber is still part of an investigation in the BVT scandal and his appointment was already blocked by president Alexander Van der Bellen, who followed the established practice of not appointing statewide positions during a transition period.
A statement released by Ratz stated that all decisions taken after the publication of the video will be reversed. At the same time, no decisions taken by the coalition beforehand will be reversed. The Federal States and NGOs have welcomed the decision to revoke the €1.50 wage act.
Source: Die Presse
3. EU Parliament Elections Have Started
For the 9th time in its history, EU citizens are voting for their country’s representatives in the European Parliament. Between May 23 – 26, 427 Million eligible voters can determine 751 parliamentarians. On a side note, Austria is the only country in Europe which already allows 16-year-olds to participate.
On Thursday, the voting already took place in the Netherlands and the UK. The UK, with their prolonged Brexit deadline, had the obligation to participate as a full member state. Once Brexit is in full force, their seats would either wander to other countries or perish.
On Friday, Ireland and the Czech Republic had their elections, Saturday added Latvia, Malta, and Slovakia to the mix. In Austria, the election is taking place like in most countries on Sunday. The final results will be announced the same evening.
Source: Die Presse
4. Climate Change: 1,500 Viennese students are Protesting Next Week
On Friday Austrian students went to the streets for a second time to protest for more environmental protection. At Heldenplatz, several hundred students gathered to move on into the inner city. The “Friday’s For Future“ protests also gathered several students in other cities. The 1,500 participants also called for young participants to go vote in the European elections, at the end demand for declaring a climate emergency situation was handed to the Viennese municipal government.
As of next week, the number of students might increase, as Greta Thunberg had announced that she would join the marches on May 31 in Austria during the climate conference “R20 Austrian World Summit“. She and host Arnold Schwarzenegger will also hold a free accessible speech.
Source: Die Presse
5. The federal museum of Lower Austria opens with five exhibitions
(c) faruk pinjo
The new museum in Krems is opening its doors with five exhibitions that are designed to attract a broad audience. During the weekend, curious visitors could inspect the building with free entry and visit the exhibitions on five floors with 500 exhibits. The aim of the museum is to explain the world of today, but also show art of past epochs.
The guideline for the curators is the motto “landscape, humans, collections”. Artists exhibited are photographer Heinz Cibulka, Renate Bertlmann or Egon Schiele.
Source: Der Standard
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