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Vienna Energy Forum 2018: Sustainable Energy Provision as a Key to Tackling Poverty

The sixth Vienna Energy Forum 2018 was held from 14 to 16 May, 2018, at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) and the Hofburg Imperial Palace. It was attended by over 1,800 participants from 130 countries, including prime ministers, ministers, high-level government officials, permanent mission representatives, chairs of the regional groups, donors, as well as representatives of the EU, the private sector and development finance institutions.

May 16, 2018

Austria, the OSCE and the Asia Pacific - Effective Multilateralism in a Globalized World

The Austrian Foreign Ministry in the framework of its Chairmanship of the OSCE Asian Contact Group (Afghanistan, Australia, Korea, Japan and Thailand), is organizing a conference on “Effective Multilateralism in a globalized world - The case of Europe and Asia Pacific” at Palais Niederösterreich, Vienna. The conference will focus on multilateral security mechanisms in Europe and the Asia Pacific region, as well as on economic connectivity and co-operation.

May 14, 2018

The Hungarian Foreign Minister's Alleged Evidence of the Existence of the Soros Plan

The ridiculous discussion about the wave of European immigration allegedly steered by the Soros plan is widening as a result of a letter of evidence from the Hungarian Foreign Minister.

May 11, 2018

Iran-Deal Withdrawal: Consequences for Iran-Austrian Economics Relations

About 50 Austrian companies have branches in Iran. Austrian exports to Iran rose by 9.2 percent to 301 million euros in 2017; imports increased by 18.5 percent to 119 million euros. A JCPOA supported only by the EU, Russia, China and Iran is not sufficient in the medium and long term to create the necessary investments and renewals in Iran. Without the US on board, international banks and large companies will continue to shy away from activities in Iran. Secondary sanctions will contribute to this.

May 11, 2018

Trump's Iran Deal Withdrawal Increases Uncertainty for Austrian Companies

Austrian companies react in a wait-and-see manner. The withdrawal of the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran means in practice that the suspension of sanctions will no longer be extended. Considerations range from an immediate halt to activities in Iran to the longest possible active participation within the new sanctions framework. It is unlikely that Austria's exports will reach the 300 million euro mark of the previous year.

May 11, 2018

Iran-Deal - Austrian Oberbank Distances Itself from Framework Credit Agreement with Tehran

Only last year, the Upper Austrian Oberbank was the first European bank to sign a framework credit agreement with Iran. After the USA's withdrawal from the nuclear treaty, the bank is now under pressure and intends to wait and see. The bank says it could certainly take two weeks for a final solution to be found and officially agreed.

May 11, 2018

The Future of the EU: Europe Day Is To Be Given Greater Importance

On Europe Day, one pupil from each member state of the European Union came to the Hofburg for a discussion. More political education in schools and a more comprehensive climate policy are their main demands. "We are 20 percent of the population, but 100 percent of the future."

May 11, 2018

Update of Austria's Probe of UN Golan Troops Over Deaths of Syrians

According to media reports, the video, which shows the fatal incident in September 2012 on the Golan Heights, when Austrian blue helmet soldiers sent 9 Syrian security forces into a deadly ambush, was used as a "training film". In parallel with these reports, the former Defence Minister points out that the start of the Syrian Civil War has removed the basis of the UN mandate, which should focus exclusively on monitoring the ceasefire between Syria and Israel.

May 4, 2018

Meet Vienna's New Mayor Dr. Michael Ludwig

Michael Ludwig is a Viennese politician, member of the SPÖ, and since a battle vote in January 2018 against Andreas Schieder the designated mayor respectively state governor of Vienna and the state party chairman of the SPÖ Vienna. On 24 May 2018 he will take up his new position as successor to Michael Häupl.

May 3, 2018

New Forum for Deepening German-Austrian Relations: Österreichisch-Deutsches Länderforum

Recently the Österreichisch-Deutsches Länderforum e.V. was founded in Vienna by Dr. Harald Wögerbauer with the intention of offering a platform for deepening German-Austrian relations.

May 2, 2018

The Window of Opportunity for the Western Balkans

Will the Western Balkan countries be able to take advantage of the moment and will it bring the year 2018 closer to the European Union? In February 2018, a new Enlargement Strategy was presented in Strasbourg by the EU Commission. Bulgaria, currently having the Presidency of the Council of the EU, will organize a major Balkan’s Summit in May. Austria, for a long time one of the most prominent promoters of the EU Enlargement for the Western Balkans and a country deeply intertwined with the region, will assume the EU presidency in the second half of 2018. This year represents one of the crucial moments for enlargement as major steps need to be undertaken to reach the goal of making the enlargement perspective realistic for 2025.

April 26, 2018

What does the Vienna-based ICMPD and its Director General Michael Spindelegger do?

The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) was founded in 1993 in Vienna on the initiative of Austria and Switzerland with the aim of making migration and mobility of people orderly, safe and regular, including through the implementation of planned and well managed migration policies. The aim is to counteract the often short-term thinking of governments so that sustainable solutions can be found and implemented in the medium and long term to combat and overcome the migration crisis. From this point of view, the tasks of the ICMPD have become extremely topical and important due to the refugee crisis.

April 26, 2018

Goals for Austria's Presidency of the Council of the European Union

On 1 July 2018, Austria will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Bulgaria. During its Presidency of the Council of the European Union (1 July to 31 December 2018), guided by the motto "A Europe that protects", Austria will focus on three key areas: security and the fight against illegal migration, retaining competitiveness through digitalisation, and stability in the neighbouring regions (particularly the accession of the Western Balkans to the EU).

April 25, 2018

Eurozone Finance Ministers Welcome Austria's Budgetary Plans

The 19 members of the Eurozone welcome Austria's submission of an updated draft budgetary plan for 2018.

April 24, 2018

Austria's Role in Brussels' Syria Conference Rather Modest

Austria's recent efforts regarding Syria to make only 4 million additional euros available on the one hand, and Lawrow's clear rejection of Austria's possible mediation role in the Syrian conflict on the other, cannot be classified as a success. Rather than Vienna, the Brussels Conference will seek to resume the UN peace talks in Geneva.

April 24, 2018

Soros's Central European University is to Remain in Budapest

The Central European University (CEU) donated by US billionaire George Soros does not plan to move to Berlin or Vienna, but expects the Hungarian government to sign the agreement with the State of New York as soon as possible so that the CEU can remain in Budapest.

April 20, 2018 · Updated: April 20, 2018; 19:10

Austrian Minister of Education Demands Clarification from Islamic Community

In connection with the affair over children as soldiers playing war games in a Viennese mosque, Minister Blümel demands further information and clarification of the incidents from the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGÖ - Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich).

April 20, 2018

Top Energy Events Put Vienna in the Focus of the Global Clean Energy Economy

The Vienna Energy Forum 2018 in May in Vienna brings together a multitude of people and institutions to discuss and solve the key questions of the present on the topic of energy. Among them are heads of state, ministers, energy experts, representatives of international and non-governmental organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector. The PFAN Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum and the R20 Austria World Summit are also part of this huge event. This event, sponsored by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a high-level summit about leadership on implementing the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

April 19, 2018

David Goodhart at the IWM: Dilemmas of Post-Liberalism

David Goodhart, a British journalist, commentator, author and the director of the Demos thinktank discusses immigration and liberalism with Ivan Krastev at the IWM Institute of Human Sciences.

April 13, 2018

Asylum Law: Duration of Proceedings at Austrian Supreme Courts Decreases

The duration of proceedings in asylum cases at the two Austrian Supreme Courts, Constitutional Court of Austria (VfGH) and Supreme Administrative Court of Austria (VwGH), is continuously decreasing.

April 10, 2018

Austria's Vice-Chancellor Also Wants Headscarf Ban for Students

An extension is now under discussion since yesterday. Heinz-Christian Strache requested a comprehensive ban on headscarves in a TV appearance analogous to Turkey, as it had applied there until before the AKP. Until now it was decided that children under the age of ten should not wear headscarves. The government wanted to propose a law by summer for which it needs the votes of the opposition. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who made the appearance together with Strache, agreed with Strache that he is completely on the same line.

April 6, 2018

Money Laundering: RBI Is Fined EUR 2.7 Million

The Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) has imposed the highest fine ever imposed by the FMA, i.e. a fine of EUR 2.748 million against Raiffeisen Bank International AG.

April 1, 2018

Harvard Government Professor Michael Sandel to Lecture Austrian Opposition How to Win Back Popular Support

The election of Donald Trump was an angry verdict on decades of rising inequality and a version of globalization that benefits those at the top but leaves ordinary people feeling disempowered. American political philosopher and a political philosophy professor at Harvard University Michael J. Sandel will give a lecture on "Is Democracy in Peril? - Politics in the Age of Trump".

March 29, 2018

Vienna - Moscow: Maintaining All Communication Channels Is Crucial

All the evidence suggests that Russia is to blame for the poison attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. To date, 19 EU countries and 7 non-EU countries have expelled more than 150 diplomats. By deciding not to expel Russian diplomats, Austria is opposing most of its partner countries.

March 27, 2018

Jens Weidmann Demands in Vienna an End to Massive Bond-Buying Program

The head of Deutsche Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, visits Vienna to receive the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold (Grosses Goldenes Ehrenzeichen) from Finance Minister Hartwig Löger. In his speech he called for a rapid end to bond purchases by the European Central Bank (ECB).

March 26, 2018

Austrian Support for Peace and Security Programm in Horn of Africa Region

Vienna based ADA - Austrian Development Agency signs an agreement on peace and security in the Horn of Africa with EU and IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development). The EUTF - EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa provides 40 million euros. 35 million of this will be made available to ADA and 5 million directly to IGAD. The ADA passes on one million euros to IGAD. The Swedish International Development Agency SIDA will also contribute one million euros..

March 26, 2018

Analysis: Vienna's 900 Years of Close Ties With Former Tax Haven Liechtenstein

Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen visited the Principality of Liechtenstein during a state visit to Vaduz. After 14 months, he has finally visited the last of Austria's neighbouring countries. The state was known as a tax haven until November 2013. The Liechtenstein tax affair and offshore leaks have contributed to the neighbouring country signing an international agreement to prevent tax evasion.

March 22, 2018

Austria's Double Budget 2018/2019 - Cautious Optimism

Finance Minister Hartwig Löger (ÖVP) presented his first budget. Austria's new federal government wants to earn more than it spends. The double budget for 2018 and 2019 should herald a new era. The Austrian state has been spending more than it takes for 65 years and this is to be reversed for the first time in 2019. Debt policy is to be ended. A budget surplus of 541 million euros is to be achieved and thus a turning point in budget policy. Most money should be spent on pensions, least on health.

March 22, 2018

Austrian Attaché at Tel Aviv Embassy Poses in T-Shirt of Right-Wing Identitarians

Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl has recalled Jürgen-Michael Kleppich, Attaché at the Austrian Embassy in Tel Aviv. The reason for this are media reports that shortly after Kleppich moved to Israel in January 2018, he posted a picture of himself in a T-shirt from the shop of right-wing extremist Identitarian Movement on Facebook.

March 22, 2018

80th Anniversary of Mexico’s Protest Against Anschluss of Austria to Hitler-Germany

On 19 March 1938 Mexico submitted a note of protest to the League of Nations against the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany (known as “Anschluss”). At that time Mexico was the only member of the League of Nations to issue a written protest.

March 21, 2018

Simplified Naturalisations in Austria for Families of Nazi Refugees

Austria plans to facilitate dual citizenship for the descendants of Nazi displaced persons.

March 15, 2018

Annual Report of the European Commission: How did Austria do?

The European Commission presented its annual reports on 27 EU member states. How did Austria do? Well, it kinda ended up with a black eye. The report took a pop at Vienna for a number of structural shortcomings, including tax burden on labour, pension and healthcare expenditures, house prices, restrictive regulation in the services markets, stagnating productivity and and not enough action on spreading digital technologies. That isn’t a particularly good report card for the previous coalition government of ÖVP und SPÖ. Let’s see if the new coalition government of ÖVP und FPÖ can make the grade the next time around.

March 11, 2018

Extremism-Gate: Special Session of Austrian National Council Convened

The somewhat opaque events surrounding the house search of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counter-Terrorism (BVT) are now making political waves. It is deeply disturbing that a unit, which in itself is not responsible for this, is supposed to have carried out the house search at the BVT and allegedly took highly sensitive intelligence information with it. The matter stinks to high heaven. The Austrian opposition has convened the National Council. The parties SPÖ, NEOS and Liste Pilz (LP) demand that Interior Minister Herbert Kickl (FPÖ) provides a complete explanation.

March 9, 2018

Austrian Delegation Seeks to Improve Economic and Political Relations with Jordan

An official visit of President Van der Bellen to Jordan will take place from 17 April to 19 April 2018. The delegation to Amman will be accompanied by an economic mission headed by WKO Vice President Richard Schenz. The economic mission of the WKO is the response of an invitation issued some time ago by the President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Kingdom.

March 8, 2018

The OSCE in 2030: Undivided Security in Europe Now More at Risk Than 10 Years Ago

In the Austrian National Defence Academy, the security issue "The OSCE in 2030: Undivided Security in Europe restored?" was discussed in the form of a public panel discussion. At the invitation of the International Institute for Peace (IIP), the Karl-Renner-Institut, the Scientific Cluster for Polemology and Legal Ethics, the FES Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Europe (ROCPE), the Austrian National Defence Academy and the ISP Institute for Security Policy, Hannes Swoboda as moderator and the panelists Thomas Greminger, Fyodor Lukyanov, Stephanie Liechtenstein, Alena Kupchyna discussed the hoped-for security policy development of Europe and the OSCE.

March 7, 2018

Chancellor Kurz Visits President Putin: "The situation in Syria is dramatic"

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz traveled to Moscow to meet Vladimir Putin. The focus of the trip was a working meeting with the Russian President, with whom Kurz discussed, among other things, the bilateral relations of both countries, the relationship between Russia and the EU, the Ukraine conflict and the current situation in Syria.

February 28, 2018

The Western Balkans Remain a Priority of Austrian Foreign Policy

Because of a common history and the tradition of political, cultural and economic relations, Austrian foreign policy has always attached particular importance to the Western Balkans. The primary goal of Austrian foreign policy is to support the transformation of the Western Balkans area into a zone of stability. From the Austrian perspective there is only one option for the Western Balkans: a full European integration of the region. However, the political commitment from the regions' leaders is expected.

February 28, 2018

Austrian Government Presents Double Budget 2018/19: EU Requirements Are Met - 2019 Balanced Budget

The new Austrian government is planning a zero deficit for next year, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache (FPÖ) have announced. The planned reduction in corporation tax could be of interest to foreign investors and companies.

February 28, 2018

How do Russian Politicians and Oligarchs Withdraw their Money from Austria?

The Russian money nobility has begun to repatriate large amounts of its western-hoarded money back to Russia in order to deprive it of access by Western authorities. The countries of origin are above all Switzerland, but also Austria and Great Britain. Sberbank, Russia's largest and state-owned bank, speaks of an atypically high capital inflow to Russia. Within a few weeks, a tripling of such repatriation transactions took place compared to the same period of the previous year. The sum is hundreds of millions of dollars. The average transfer amount has increased within a year by 50% to 3 million dollars. This meets with the Kremlin's desire to repatriate Russian assets.

February 22, 2018

Meet Her Excellency Austria's New Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl

Karin Kneissl (53) was recently appointed Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. At present, she is busy touring Europe and introducing herself to her counterparts, or inviting them to the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs in Vienna.

February 20, 2018

Goals of Austria's OSCE Chairmanship 2017

Germany will chair the OSCE until the end of December and will then hand over to Austria in 2017. Austria will promote greater security and stability as well as the preservation of common values within the OSCE region.

August 31, 2016

Social Progress Index: Austria Ranked 13th

Austria has been ranked 13th by NGO Social Progress Imperative, in its Social Progress Index ranking. It precedes Japan and Germany and scored many points thanks to renewable energy projects. However, the state reveals shortages with respect to education, tolerance and equal opportunities. Nordic states, such as Finland, Canada and Denmark lead the index.

July 25, 2016

What Role Should the OSCE Play in the Refugee Issue?

Possible roles for the OSCE in the context of the migration and refugee flows across the OSCE area were discussed at a special meeting of the Permanent Council in Vienna. The OSCE Permanent Council is one of the main regular decision-making bodies of the Organization bringing together representatives of all 57 OSCE participating States and the 11 Partners for Co-operation.

July 21, 2016

Austrian Ministerial Council Approves EUR 1.5 Mln for Iraq Humanitarian Aid and Resettlement

The Austrian Ministerial Council approves 1.5 million euros in funding for humanitarian aid and resettlement in Iraq. The humanitarian aid for the population in need on the ground and measures aimed at promoting resettlement are supposed to contribute towards managing the refugee crisis.

July 15, 2016

Austria Takes Over OSCE Chairmanship: "Need for Decisive Action!"

In his first address to the OSCE Permanent Council as incoming OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Austria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz said that the fight against radicalization will be the main priority of Austria’s 2017 OSCE chairmanship. In first address to OSCE Permanent Council, incoming Chairperson-in-Office Austria’s Foreign Minister Kurz, stresses

July 14, 2016

New "Open Austria Initiative" Supposed to Open Doors to Silicon Valley

Foreign Ministry and Austrian Economic Chamber open joint office in California to support Austrian companies and pave their way for success in Silicon Valley.

July 14, 2016

OSCE: "Reliable, Affordable and Sustainable Energy Supplies are Prerequisite for Stability and Security"

Energy experts from the OSCE Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation, representing both government institutions and private sector companies, will begin a week-long field study of sustainable energy in Austria and Germany.

July 12, 2016

Western Balkans Summit was Held in Paris

Following the 2014 Western Balkans Summit in Berlin and the Vienna Western Balkans Summit of August 2015, the third Western Balkans Summit was held in Paris in the context of the ‘Berlin Process’. More than 500,000 of the people with migration background who live in Austria are from the region. Austrian companies have hundreds of branches or subsidiaries in the Western Balkans, which clearly illustrates the very close economic relations.

July 8, 2016

Christine Muttonen Elected President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier today congratulated Christine Muttonen on her election as President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

July 6, 2016

Presidential Poll Result Overturned by Austrian Constitutional Court

Austria's highest court has annulled the result of the presidential election narrowly lost by the candidate of the far-right Freedom Party Norbert Hofer.

July 1, 2016
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