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Hypo-Disaster: Harsh Criticism from Opposition

Published: February 11, 2014; 16:43 · (Vindobona)

The opposition parties have expressed their unanimous criticism about the government failing to come to a joint decision with the Austrian banks and consequently forwarding all costs to the taxpayers.

Hypo-Disaster: Harsh Criticism from Opposition / Picture: © Wikipedia / JJ55 (30 March 2008)

Party leader of the Austrian Freedom party (FPÖ) Heinz Christian Strache demanded all cards to be put on the table. In his view the investigation committee he has commanded for some time now has to be implemented now. Strache announced his intention of leading talks with the other opposition parties and put pressure on the government. Moreover, he wants to initiate an emergency sitting of the National Assembly together with the opposition parties for this issue.

The head of the FPÖ considers the term “emergency nationalization” a lie since it had not been necessary to take over the bank from the Bavarian parent company BayernLB. “Now there is an obligation for the taxpayers even though the Austrians have nothing to do with Hypo’s bankruptcy,” he said. According to him, there was a billion-Euro grave which the government has left the Austrians with. However, it was a fact that BayernLB had the financial responsibility and would have been able to repair the damage. Strache called the case a “financial crime that was committed on the back of the Austrians.” According to him, the take over of Hypo Group by the Austrian state was only a cover-up for bigger crimes.

The Austrian Greens too demand an emergency sitting of the National Assembly. Werner Kogler, spokesman for finance and budget of the Greens, said that everything had to be done to make BayernLB liable as former owner. Moreover, he presses for major funds and speculators, who have so far been the beneficiaries – much to the chagrin of the taxpayer, to participate in the costs. According to Kogler, both Chancellor Werner Faymann and Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger have appointed Klaus Liebscher and Ewald Nowotny (Governor of the Austrian National Bank, OeNB), as heads of the bank’s task force despite having proved their incompetence for years.

Kathrin Nachbaur, party leader of Team Stronach, calls for real experts for Hypo Group. “The aim is to finally appoint real experts to find the most favorable solution for the taxpayers. After many years of wrong doing the right thing has to be done eventually,” she said. Moreover, she said that “the truth is that both the SPÖ (Social Democrats) and the ÖVP (Austrian People’s Party) have covered everything up with a steady hand until after the elections.”According to Nachbaur, a bad bank solution had been postponed by the government in their electoral interest and at the expense of the taxpayers. Moreover she criticizes the government sharply for not calling former owner BayernLB to account but passing the costs on to the Austrian citizens.

The BZÖ (Alliance for the Future of Austria), on the other hand, demands a financial participation of the banks. “It is stunning, how the Austrian government was brought to its knees by the banks. While the tax-backed bank rescue package was good enough to save the banks from bankruptcy … now the banks elegantly pull out when the aim is to save the Austrian citizens from the effects of the dramatic misconduct of former Finance Minister Josef Pröll and Hypo Group’s management,” Gerald Grozs, party leader of BZÖ said on Tuesday.