Austrian Government Reviews the Year 2022

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: December 25, 2022; 12:55 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler made a review and concluded the year 2022 with a positive and determined outlook for the following year. The subjects of the past year were the recovery from the pandemic, the energy crisis, inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Chancellor Karl Nehammer (r) and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (l) Reviewing the Year 2022 at the Press Foyer. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Christoper Dunker

"If we look back at 2022, we have a more than a difficult year behind us. After the corona lockdown phase, it was about bringing the country back to normal. However, something happened that nobody in Europe would have expected: War broke out with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This was accompanied by many follow-up questions and numerous concerns that needed to be addressed," said Chancellor Karl Nehammer in the press conference after the Council of Ministers held a meeting. Together with Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler, Nehammer looked back on the past year, drew conclusions about the government's work, and gave an outlook for the coming year.

Both emphasized what they had achieved together. Nehammer referred, among other things, to reducing dependence on Russian gas, better equipment for the army and numerous measures for business and private individuals such as the brake on electricity price and the heating cost subsidy. The desired relief was successful, as can be seen from the current economic growth and tax revenues, said Nehammer, who also pointed out that the coalition had reacted more quickly to the crisis than, for example, that in Germany, according to ORF.

When Nehammer was asked about the low gas storage levels at the beginning of the year, he noted the greatest concern was whether we would have sufficient energy. Therefore, several crisis meetings were held to resolve these war-related issues in time before winter. Therefore, despite a reduction in Russian gas supplies, the federal government increased storage levels significantly. It was also important to reduce dependence on Russian gas. As the Chancellor put it, "experts predicted that this would be very difficult, if not impossible." Nevertheless, gas storage levels exceeded 90 percent. In addition, it was possible to decrease dependence on Russian gas from over 80 percent to around 20 percent. "We are already preparing for next winter to guarantee the security of energy supply for the people and the economy in our country," said the Chancellor.

Despite all the political efforts, the tone in the country had become rougher, the chancellor then stated, the positive economic figures were not reflected in the general climate in the country. But he sees that three years of crisis have not broken the country, the government wants to continue to find solutions and does not wipe away problems or hide them under the carpet.

Kogler agreed that 2022 was “certainly” one of the most difficult years of the Second Republic. The government has tried to solve the problems that have arisen and some successes have perhaps been communicated too quietly. It is not self-evident that so much has been achieved, including the appearance that there is no energy shortage. However, he also admitted that some additional workloads were perhaps overcompensated, but that was due to the quick response, as it is stated in ORF.

Opinions continued to differ on the Schengen issue, i.e. Romania's and Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen area, said the Vice Chancellor. Referring to the latest migration figures, Nehammer said that Schengen was not a question of political agitation and admitted that emotionalizing was the "biggest mistake". Nehammer wants to continue to maintain relations with both countries, as well as with Hungary, which is needed in the question.

For the year 2023, the government has set itself the task of working on the weaknesses that were revealed by the crisis and making future-oriented decisions. The government meeting planned for January would therefore focus on questions such as the security of energy supply, independence in the energy sector, the security of people in Austria as well as innovation and necessary investments, according to Nehammer. "We will find solutions to the challenges so that the people in this country can face the next year with confidence," concluded the Chancellor.