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Weekly Briefing: Presidential Elections in Austria

The Find out more about this week's developments. In Austria, the presidential elections will be held on Sunday. There are new diplomatic and economic developments in Vienna. And there is new art in town! Read about the latest developments in diplomacy in Vienna and Austria.

October 6, 2022

What is the Role of the Office of the Federal President in the Austrian Political System?

This Sunday, eligible voters in Austria will elect the head of state of their country, the Federal President. But how exactly is the political role of the Federal President expressed in the Austrian political system? What is the story behind the office? Where exactly can the Republic of Austria be placed on the axis between Parliamentarism and Presidentialism? Read on to find out the answers!

October 6, 2022

Everything you Need to Know About the Austrian Federal Presidential Election

This Sunday, Austria will hold its federal presidential elections. The current incumbent, Alexander Van der Bellen, has to face his rivals after his six-year term. Read on to find out who the six opposing candidates are!

October 6, 2022

Sanctions: 200 Russian Bank Accounts Frozen in Austria

In the course of the sanctions against Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine, about 200 accounts in Austria have already been frozen. This means that assets of one billion euros are affected.

October 5, 2022

Former Austrian Foreign Minister Kneissl Explains Reasons for Move to Lebanon

Austria's former Foreign Minister and ex-FPÖ politician Karin Kneissl explained at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok why she moved to Lebanon instead of Russia. The ex-politician will take part in a discussion tomorrow on a Russian export route in the Arctic Ocean.

September 5, 2022

Former Austrian Foreign Minister Kneissl Causes a Stir with a Tweet About Russia and Putin

Former Foreign Minister and FPÖ politician Karin Kneissl, who danced with Putin at her wedding in 2018, caused a stir with a tweet about the Ukraine war. Kneissl, who was considered to have good connections to Russia, was even on the supervisory board of the Russian oil company Rosneft until May.

August 25, 2022

Vienna Increases Fees for Public Services

The City of Vienna increases the fees for water, sewage, waste disposal as well as the prices of parking tickets. The adjustment of tariffs for municipal services is made in Vienna based on the applicable valorization law.

August 18, 2022

Dilemma of the Austrian Presidential Election

October 9 will be the date for the election of the Federal President. Although the election is relatively close, no real campaign has yet begun. Most parties have not even nominated candidates. The incumbent president Alexander Van der Bellen announced to run again.

June 29, 2022

Politicians in Vienna Demand Easier Access to Austrian Citizenship

Heated debates recently took place in Vienna's provincial parliament when the parties jointly discussed making it easier to obtain Austrian citizenship. Besides fears that such a facilitation would "devalue" Austrian citizenship, there was also a lot of support and calls for a more open Austria. The debate was fuelled by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, who had recently spoken out in favour of a simpler process in an interview.

June 21, 2022

Austrian Parliament for EU-Wide Data Exchange on Displaced Persons from Ukraine

Within the framework of the Temporary Protection Platform, the Austrian Parliament's Interior Committee today created the legal framework for EU-wide data exchanges on persons displaced from Ukraine. The extension concerning the Corona special regulations in alien law provides the basis for this framework.

June 13, 2022

Austria to Support Prosecution of Alleged War Crimes in Ukraine

All parliamentary groups in the Human Rights Committee adopted a resolution calling for an investigation and prosecution of alleged war crimes committed by Russia during its aggression against Ukraine.

June 8, 2022

Military Transports Through Austria

After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, there was only a slight increase in the number of military transports through Austria. This year, there were 1,100 in total by April 11.

June 2, 2022

Foreign Policy Committees of the Austrian Parliament and the Ukrainian Parliament Discuss Situation in Ukraine

Members of the Austrian Parliament exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine with representatives of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament.

May 23, 2022

Expulsion: Austria Declares Four Russian Diplomats as "Personae Non Gratae"

Now Austria is joining the trend of European sanctions against Russian diplomats, expelling three members of the Russian Embassy in Vienna and one member of the Russian Consulate General in Salzburg.

April 7, 2022

Access to Austrian Citizenship for Descendants of Nazi Victims Expanded

A new amendment to the law will now make it easier to obtain Austrian citizenship as a descendant of a victim of National Socialism. This has now been passed in parliament and is an important step towards the recognition of history.

March 29, 2022

Austria Kicks Off Detachment Process from 80 Percent Dependence on Russian Gas

In order to no longer be dependent on Russian gas imports, the Austrian federal government decided on a new stockpiling of natural gas. This is to provide for the case of an import stop from Russia. Despite the high level of approval, the proposal has nevertheless come in for criticism.

March 25, 2022

Neutrality: Ukrainian President Zelenskyy May Now Be Able to Address the Austrian National Council After All

The ongoing debate on Austrian neutrality will maybe allow Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to speak to Austrian parliamentarians.

March 23, 2022

Austria's List of Pro-Kremlin Lobbyists Has One Cooperation Partner Less

The Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) has announced that it will not extend a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United Russia (Единая Россия) party, a nationalist-conservative rallying party. It is the party with the largest membership in the Russian Federation under party leader Dmitry Medvedev, who supports Vladimir Putin's course. However, Russia can still rely on other former Austrian politicians. Read on to see who the most prominent supporters are.

December 16, 2021 · Updated: January 4, 2022; 14:50

Austrians Abroad Want Dual Citizenship at Last

There are growing calls among Austrians abroad for a change to Austria's strict laws regarding dual citizenship. Read about the citizens' initiative "Dual Citizenship for Austria" and the increasing support it is receiving from Austrians abroad, expats in Austria, and Austrian politicians.

December 8, 2021

State of Emergency in Vienna: Numerous Demonstrations against Anti-Corona Measures

Vienna was once again subject to demonstrations against measures taken by the Austrian government to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Read about the massive demonstrations and clashes with police in Austria's capital.

December 6, 2021

Explained: Compulsory Covid Vaccination for All in Austria as of February 2022

The Austrian government has announced that vaccination against COVID-19 will be mandatory as early as February 2022. Learn more about the new law and what it means for people in Austria.

November 25, 2021

Smart Borders: Austrian Green Light for Implementation of EU-wide Entry/Exit System

Austria has passed a law to help implement the EU-wide entry/exit system (EES) as stipulated in the EU's "Smart Borders Package." Read more about the new law and what it means for border controls and law enforcement cooperation in the EU.

October 25, 2021

Austria Opposes Further Expansion of Hungarian Nuclear Power Plant Paks II

All five Austrian parliamentary parties are opposed to the expansion of the Paks II Nuclear Power Plant in Hungary due to serious safety concerns. The Environment Committee in parliament has unanimously called on the government to take all possible actions to oppose its construction. Read why Austria considers the power plant's expansion dangerous.

October 25, 2021

Austria's Strategy for the Upcoming European Council Meeting

Ahead of the European Council meeting in Brussels, Austrian Chancellor Schallenberg, EU Minister Edtstadler, and members of parliament laid out Austria's strategy for the meeting. Read their stances on the key issues they plan to raise in Brussels.

October 22, 2021

Ibiza Affair Committee Concludes in National Council: How Corrupt are Austrian Politicians?

How corruptible is Austrian politics? This question was explored by the deputies in the National Council session when discussing the recently published final report of the Ibiza-Affair Investigation Committee. Although the report was unanimously acknowledged, the parties were far apart in their conclusions.

September 23, 2021

Austria's Ex-Vice Chancellor Strache Found Guilty of Corruption

Former vice chancellor and the ex-head of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) Heinz-Christian Strache has been sentenced to 15 months' conditional imprisonment for bribery at Vienna's regional court. The co-defendant and owner of the private clinic in Vienna-Währing, Walter Grubmüller, was sentenced to twelve months for bribery, also on probation.

August 27, 2021

Vienna Election 2020: Social-Democrats Are Clear Winners

The current Mayor of Vienna and the leading candidate for this election, Michael Ludwig from the SPOE, has successfully defended the first place in Vienna. Compared to the last election, the Social-Democratic Party has increased its popularity in Vienna even further and will now start negotiations with the other parties to form the next government.

October 12, 2020

Berlin Will Welcome Delegation of the Austrian National Council

The German capital will be host to a meeting between several German politicians and a delegation from the Austrian National Council. The main topics comprise measures to cope with the Covid-19 crisis and EU issues.

September 4, 2020

Italy-Austria: Coronavirus Emergency Measure Caused Chaos and Panic

A false coronavirus alarm paralysed train traffic between Italy, Austria and Germany. Meanwhile the far right Freedom Party demands that the National Security Council should discuss the situation and that travel to Austria from the affected regions should be restricted.

February 24, 2020 · Updated: February 24, 2020; 11:57

Austria in Favour of Maintaining Sanctions against Russia

The sanctions against Russia will be extended for a further six months. Although positive developments have been identified, they were not enough to lift the sanctions.

December 12, 2019

Extension of Headscarf Ban and Simplified Revocation of Citizenship of IS Returnees

The Austrian Freedom Party underscored its demand for an extension of the ban on headscarves in schools, and initiated a lively discussion on how to deal with the 320 officially known IS supporters who voluntarily travelled to war zones or intended to do so, even though they might become stateless, in order to revoke Austrian citizenship.

November 14, 2019

Casinos-Austria Affair: Austria's Previous Finance Minister No Longer Available

Austria's former and potentially future Finance Minister Hartwig Löger is no longer available for another term in office. A connection with the current Casinos-Austria Affair, in which the Office of the Public Prosecutor for Economic Affairs and Corruption (WKStA) is investigating, would not exist.

November 13, 2019

Election 2019: Five Parties Make Their Entry into the Austrian National Council

Five political parties will be represented in the newly elected Austrian National Council. In addition to ÖVP, SPÖ, FPÖ and NEOS, the Greens - after a two-year forced break - have also rejoined the House. The Liste JETZT, on the other hand, failed, as did the other small parties, at the 4% hurdle.

October 4, 2019

Government Formation: Party Leaders in the Presidential Chancellery

Next Monday, Federal President Van der Bellen will commission ÖVP leader Kurz to form a government.

October 2, 2019 · Updated: October 4, 2019; 13:03

Holzmann is the New Austrian National Bank Governor

The liberal Robert Holzmann (70) took over as Governor of the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) on 1 September 2019, succeeding Ewald Nowotny. The manner in which he will hold his office as governor will be followed with interest. The economist has already stated that he will pay more attention to the monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB) than his predecessor.

September 3, 2019

What Do You Know About the Austrian Federal President Van der Bellen

Alexander Van der Bellen is an Austrian economist, former politician of the Green Party and since 26 January 2017 ninth Austrian Federal President of the Second Republic.

October 4, 2018 · Updated: September 2, 2019; 20:02

Ibizagate: New Book Proves Allegations Against Former Freedom Party Leader Strache

A secretly recorded video led to the fall of Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz Christian Strache and Deputy Leader of the Freedom Party Johann Gudenus in May. Now the journalists of the Süddeutsche Zeitung who took part in the unveiling describe what else could be seen on the Ibiza video and how Strache was tempted to behave corruptly.

August 22, 2019

European Elections 2019: Austrian Preliminary Final Results

The preliminary result of the 2019 European elections (without absentee ballot) has been announced. The Austrian People's Party won clearly ahead of the Austrian Socialist Party (SPÖ) and the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). The Greens and NEOS followed in places 4 to 5. Votes cast by absentee ballot are not yet included in this result. The turnout without postal votes was 50.6%. In Vienna, the turnout including postal votes was 58.71%.

May 27, 2019

Austrian Government Dismissed: National Council Denies Government Confidence

The parliamentary motion of no confidence of the Social Democrats (SPÖ) was supported by the right-wing populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) and the Liste Jetzt. The majority of the members of the National Council thus expressed their distrust of Chancellor Kurz's government and removed it from office.

May 27, 2019

Austria's Government Faces Expected Motion of No Confidence

After the victory in the election to the European Parliament, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his government are threatened with an abrupt end. The Social Democrats (SPÖ) will table their own motion of censure against the entire Kurz cabinet. A clear decision by the Freedom Party (FPÖ) is still pending.

May 27, 2019

European Elections - Who Stands for Election and How Can a Non-Austrian EU Citizen Vote in Austria?

After the political earthquake in Austria and the end of the turquoise-blue government, the EU election on Sunday is eagerly awaited. A decision will be made on 18 EU mandates from Austria. In European elections, EU citizens are entitled to vote in Austria as long as they are registered in the European electoral register.

May 24, 2019

Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl to Remain in Transitional Government

While President Van der Bellen has removed Interior Minister Kickl from office, Foreign Minister Kneissl will remain in a transitional government at her own request.

May 21, 2019

Chancellor Sticks to Dismissal of Interior Minister - FPÖ Ministers Exit Government

Government crisis. Chancellor Kurz sticks to dismissal of interior minister. Right-wing populist FPÖ ministers leave government.

May 20, 2019

Ibiza-Video - New Elections in Austria after Vice Chancellor Resignation

After the release of the incriminating video of "foreign secret services" and the resulting resignation of Vice-Chancellor Heinz Christian Strache, the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) headed by Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz calls for early elections as soon as possible. He had also informed the Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen. "Enough is enough", Kurz said in a press statement on Saturday evening.

May 18, 2019

Business Location - New Approach to Anchoring the State Goal of 'Economy'

The governing parties have made a new attempt to anchor the state goal of "economy". The bill received majority approval in the Constitutional Committee from the ÖVP and FPÖ, although a two-thirds majority remains questionable.

May 10, 2019

EU Citizens in Austria - Vote for Your Austrian MEP at the European Elections 2019

EU citizens who have their main residence in Austria can vote for Austrian members of the European Parliament. Here we show you how this works and who you can choose.

February 25, 2019

Israel State Visit: "Austria is jointly responsible for the Shoah"

During his state visit to Israel, Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen emphasised Austria's co-responsibility for the Shoah. In the Holocaust memorial Jad Vaschem Van der Bellen bowed before the Jewish victims of National Socialism. Meanwhile, as expected, there is no lifting of the boycott against Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl or members of the Freedom Party's cabinet.

February 4, 2019

Setback for the UN - Austria Won't Sign Global Migration Pact

Austria will follow the US and Hungary in backing out of a United Nations pact on migration (Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration) over concerns that it will blur the line between illegal and legal migration.

October 31, 2018

Israel - Austria Relations: Lifting of Sanctions Against Kneissl is Nearing

According to information in the daily newspapers "Die Presse" and "Der Standard" on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Israel plans to lift its ban on contacts with Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl. Netanyahu ordered Israeli authorities in December 2017 to refrain from contacts with FPÖ ministers. Although Kneissl is not a party member, she has been nominated by the Austrian Freedom Party FPÖ. However, the official Israeli contact ban will continue to apply to FPÖ government members.

September 26, 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
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