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Austria’s News in English: September 9-15

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. Kurz’ real plans after Ibiza supposedly revealed

kurz, ibiza
Over the last few months, only very few info has leaked on what happened on May 18 after Strache resigned from his Vice-Chancellor position. According to the FPÖ, Sebastian Kurz wanted to hold a press conference at 1 pm stating that he would continue the coalition with Norbert Hofer as Vice-Chancellor.´

As it turned out, the press conference got delayed by several hours, with the FPÖ insisting that during this time Kurz suddenly demanded that Minister of Interior Herbert Kickl would have to leave too and the position to be handed over to the ÖVP. At 7 pm, as also witnessed by the public, Kurz stated in front of the media that the coalition was dissolved, and the country would head into elections.

But it’s not just the FPÖ who tells this tale. ÖVP insiders confirm that Kurz wanted to continue the coalition, but the ÖVP heads of the federal states blocked him by demanding that Kickl would have to leave.

Lower Austria governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner supposedly was the one who also demanded that the Ministry of Interior should return to the ÖVP. Tyrol’s Günther Platter, Salzburg’s Wilfried Haslauer and Upper Austria’s Thomas Stelzer are said to support her in that request.

Source: Der Standard


2. Internal data of the ÖVP said to show huge debts

övp, debt
Even though the ÖVP has threatened Falter with legal consequences, the Viennese magazine has published further data about the finances of the party.

The leaked information shows the immense debt the party is facing and how Sebastian Kurz is still spending lots of money on elections, marketing and consultants. It further states that the controllers of the party already voiced concerns last year.

Listed amongst the expenses are: a private jet trip to Rome when Kurz was insisting on flying economy both ways, a 33,000 Euro salary per month for his consultant Stefan Steiner, a 65,400 Euro yearly income for press spokesmen Gerald Fleischmann as well as 160,000 Euro expenses for a summer fest in June 2018. Plus, parties for 59,000 Euro at the restaurants of Kurz friend Martin Ho.

This shows that financially the party is in a tight spot, amongst others due to the elections in 2017 that made Kurz Chancellor. A financial advisor wrote in the internal documents that the elections alone already had put a financial strain on the party.

To avert its financial problems, the party is demanding its payments from the federal states and is begging money from its federal organizations, such as the Wirtschaftsbund.

Source: Der Standard


3. Dual citizenship for descendants of NS victims planned

passport, holocaust
In the upcoming parliament session, SPÖ, ÖVP and FPÖ will vote on an amended proposal for dual citizenships for descendants of Nazi victims.

The option, which has been in practice in Germany for years, was not available in Austria until now.

Source: Die Presse


4. 100 trees and giant chess for Reumannplatz

reumannplatz, vienna, redesign

(c) Karl Grimm Landschaftsarchitekten

The Reumannplatz in Vienna will be redesigned until summer 2020. The 18,000 square-meters-big area will receive more trees and plants, water and recreational spaces as well as a giant chess game.

The redesign became possible due to the extension of U1 to Oberlaa. Before, in order to go further south, people had to switch to tram 67, whose tracks took up most of the place. This is not the case anymore. The tracks are gone and the place is united in one area.

The city emphasizes that the construction will not affect the traffic in the area. The redesign will happen in two major stages. Until the end of the year, the northern area between Buchengasse and Rotenhofgasse will undergo construction, after that it will be the southern half until Davidgasse.

Source: Die Presse


5. Contract of Viennale head Eva Sangiorgi extended until 2026

viennale, eva sangiorgi

Viennale head Eva Sangiorgi, who took the festival over last year, will stay an additional five years. She was hired last year after longtime director Hans Hurch had died, sees this as an opportunity to develop new programme points and cooperations.

Source: Der Standard


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