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Author Topic: Austrian Elections & Politics 4.0 - On to 2018 ... with VP/FP !  (Read 18089 times)
Tender Branson
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« Reply #300 on: January 05, 2018, 07:22:43 am »
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Today was the last possible date for lists to file for the Feb. 25 Tyrol state election.

On the ballot statewide:

Landeshauptmann Gnther Platter Tiroler Volkspartei (VP TIROL)
Sozialdemokratische Partei sterreich Tirol (SP)
Die Grnen - Die Grne Alternative Tirol (GRNE)
Freiheitliche Partei sterreichs - die Tiroler Freiheitlichen (FP)
Brgerforum Tirol Liste Fritz (FRITZ)
Family Die Tiroler Familienpartei (FAMILY)
Impuls Tirol (IMPULS)
NEOS Das Neue Tirol (NEOS)

https://www.tirol.gv.at/presse/meldungen/meldung/artikel/kreiswahlvorschlaege-fuer-landtagswahl-2018-eingereicht
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #301 on: January 06, 2018, 05:11:15 am »
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New Research Affairs/24 poll for the Jan. 28 state election in Lower Austria:



Preferred coalition:



Direct vote for Governor:



How would Lower Austria vote in new federal elections right now ?



Actual 2017 result was:

36% VP
26% FP
25% SP
  5% NEOS
  4% LiPi
  3% Greens

http://www.oe24.at/oesterreich/politik/Erste-NOe-Umfrage-VP-klare-Nummer-1/315964207
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #302 on: January 06, 2018, 01:30:13 pm »
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The last 3 weeks since VP/FP were sworn in have seen many vague talking points among key players for radical changes or reforms, such as quasi-internment of asylum seekers with a night curfew (Strache), mass-quarters for them near Vienna (Gudenus), a new data-storage and online surveillance programme to combat terrorism and crime (Kickl) or the reform of unemployment money (more and longer payments for those who paid into the system for a long time, but a degressive payment system for others and, in the worst case, a switch to needs-oriented basic welfare money, in which the state can tap into the assets of unemployed as a form of recourse). This is a thing that Chancellor Kurz himself pushes heavily it seems and where even the FP's new health and social minister Hartinger was initially against ("the state won't tap into assets of the unemployed"), but who later backtracked, saying "Of course, the Chancellor is right on this matter."

All of this is just talk right now (of course, the international media often likes to report about it as fact) and it remains to be seen what will really be implemented ...

Here's an overview of what VP/FP have already passed so far in the last 3 weeks in their cabinet council meetings + at their work retreat the last few days in Styria:



* lowering ancillary labour costs for small-to-moderate income workers as a first step towards a bigger tax cut in 2020. This small tax cut takes effect on July 1, 2018 and will be worth some 320 on average for each worker.

* lowering child-benefit payments to foreign workers in Austria, who have their kids not in Austria but their home countries. The new child benefits will be indexed according to cost-of-living in the respective home countries, resulting in much lower payments for example to Hungarian workers - but also higher payments for workers who come from Switzerland, Sweden or Norway ... (these cuts will mostly finance the tax cut mentioned above).

* the preperation steps for passing the 2018/19 double budgets. The budget deficit will be 0.5% for 2018 and possibly a balanced budget for 2019 (assuming the economy remains strong). To achieve this, VP/FP agreed to look deeply into administration, bureaucracy, rent costs for objects who belong to the Republic, retirements in the state workforce etc. - which means mostly cutting spending in the state sector and bureaucracy by 2.5 Bio.

* Also, de-regulation measures have been agreed on - making it easier for business to hire people, such as lowering the overnight stay VAT for the tourism industry from 13% to 10%. On the other hand, VP/FP also agreed to phase out the SPVP-introduced "(aged 50+) job creation bonus", calling it an unnecessary state subsidy at a time of high economic growth.

* A new energy/environmental policy, so that Austria's electricity production is 100% from renewable energy sources by 2030 (it is already among Europe's best countries in that regard).

* A child/family tax credit, starting on Jan. 1, 2019 and retroactively applies to the calendar year 2018. Families with kids can deduct 150 per child when they file their taxes next year.

http://www.nachrichten.at/nachrichten/politik/innenpolitik/Harmonie-am-Schloss-Regierung-startet-mit-sechs-von-2-000-Massnahmen;art385,2779165
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« Reply #303 on: January 06, 2018, 02:13:41 pm »
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* lowering child-benefit payments to foreign workers in Austria, who have their kids not in Austria but their home countries. The new child benefits will be indexed according to cost-of-living in the respective home countries, resulting in much lower payments for example to Hungarian workers - but also higher payments for workers who come from Switzerland, Sweden or Norway ... (these cuts will mostly finance the tax cut mentioned above).

Currently illegal under EU-law, so perhaps a new source of funding will have to be found in a year or two. Allowing this was actually a part of the renegotiation deal Cameron got with the EU (along with a bunch of other quite small, but really helpful changes), but since the British voted to leave, that deal did not materialize. Austria has indeed kept pushing for this to be legal, along with Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Ireland, but it so far hasn't happened due to opposition from CEE countries and Commissioner Marianne Thyssen. Making it into law in Austria seems like another way too push for it to be legal in the EU, but also a quite big likelyhood that it will be deemed illegal by the ECJ in a year or three and create a hole in the budget. Hopefully the increased child payments in Poland and other countries as well as the wish to re-attract some of their workers in other EU countries could help reduce the opposition among CEE countries.
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #304 on: January 06, 2018, 02:48:13 pm »
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* lowering child-benefit payments to foreign workers in Austria, who have their kids not in Austria but their home countries. The new child benefits will be indexed according to cost-of-living in the respective home countries, resulting in much lower payments for example to Hungarian workers - but also higher payments for workers who come from Switzerland, Sweden or Norway ... (these cuts will mostly finance the tax cut mentioned above).

Currently illegal under EU-law, so perhaps a new source of funding will have to be found in a year or two. Allowing this was actually a part of the renegotiation deal Cameron got with the EU (along with a bunch of other quite small, but really helpful changes), but since the British voted to leave, that deal did not materialize. Austria has indeed kept pushing for this to be legal, along with Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Ireland, but it so far hasn't happened due to opposition from CEE countries and Commissioner Marianne Thyssen. Making it into law in Austria seems like another way too push for it to be legal in the EU, but also a quite big likelyhood that it will be deemed illegal by the ECJ in a year or three and create a hole in the budget. Hopefully the increased child payments in Poland and other countries as well as the wish to re-attract some of their workers in other EU countries could help reduce the opposition among CEE countries.

According to VP-FP and a review of EU-laws by legal expert Wolfgang Mazal, the cuts are in line with EU laws, mostly because aides and bureaucrats working for the EU parliament are also paid the salaries indexed to the cost of living in their countries of origin. The government thinks that the EUropean Courts will uphold it when this is taken into context:

Quote
Anpassung der Familienbeihilfe ins Ausland ist EU-konform

Die Regierung geht davon aus, dass die Regelung auch EU-konform sein wird. Nicht nur, weil es ein entsprechendes Gutachten des Rechtsexperten Wolfgang Mazal gibt, sondern wie Bundeskanzler Sebastian Kurz klarstellte auch EU-Beamte unterschiedliche Gehlter entsprechend der Lebensstandards ihrer Heimatstaaten erhalten. Es sei ungerecht, wenn die sterreichische Familienbeihilfe, die ins Ausland bezahlt wird, so hoch wie das Durchschnittseinkommen eines Arbeitnehmers in einem anderen Staat ist.

https://www.fpoe.at/artikel/ministerrat-beschliesst-anpassung-der-familienbeihilfe-ins-ausland/
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #305 on: January 09, 2018, 11:15:28 am »
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The debate about VP/FP plans to re-structure unemployment/welfare money is still ongoing ...

While both parties want some sort of change, it is mostly the VP who wants to introduce some sort of (German) Hartz IV model in Austria. Currently, if you get unemployed you are getting the unemployment money for ca. 1 year, then you need to apply again. Plus the state is not tapping into your financial assets, so as to unnecessarily punish the long-term unemployed.

The VP though is very eager to change this and nudge long-term unemployed into the needs-oriented basic welfare system (Mindestsicherung), which is already similar to the German Hartz IV system and in which the Austrian state already has to tap into the assets of reciepients. Only a small sum of a few thousand s is currently allowed to be owned, plus a car.

The FP (which still seems to have at least somewhat of a Social Democratic mentality left) is leaning against tapping into the hard-earned assets of long-term unemployed and simply wants to reform the payment structure and duration of how long someone can receive (the generally higher) unemployment money before falling into the welfare system (with mostly lower payments) and better personal coaching of the unemployed to find a job.

The compromise right now seems to be that Health and Labour Minister Hartinger (FP) will work out a plan until the end of the year (she's personally against the financial recourse) and then the coalition will decide what to do next.

It's pretty interesting that just last year, the VP (and the SP) passed a law to get rid of the personal financial recourse in the care of elderly people. And now they want to tap into the financial assets of the long-term unemployed.

There are no polls out, but I guess Austrians are generally opposed or mixed to the idea of the state virtually disappropriating a person just because they are not finding a job. But I could be wrong. Maybe there are some polls out about this issue soon.

SP, LiPi, Greens and the unions are calling the plans "anti-social" and a planned destruction of the Austrian welfare state and social partnership.

http://derstandard.at/2000071731618/Foglar-Abschaffung-schlicht-und-einfach-asozial

---

Also: The List "Pilz" will head into a work retreat this weekend and already decide on a new name for their list. Plus, Peter Kolba, who's currently their interim parliamentary leader might be replaced at some point as well, as might party leader Peter Pilz.

http://derstandard.at/2000071705445/Peter-Pilz-bereitet-sein-politisches-Comeback-vor
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #306 on: January 09, 2018, 11:31:40 am »
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The VP has started their intensive campaign for the January 28 Lower Austria state election (one of 4 state elections in the next months and the one with the most eligible voters).

4.200 delegates were present at the launch event and the party had a kinda frightening line of attack against the SP:

Quote
VP Niedersterreich: Wozu braucht es eine zweite Meinung?

Quote
"Who really needs a 2nd opinion ?"

(... the SP is having posters up with "Lower Austria needs a second opinion.")

https://diepresse.com/home/innenpolitik/5350149/OeVP-Niederoesterreich_Wozu-braucht-es-eine-zweite-Meinung
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #307 on: January 10, 2018, 03:49:34 am »
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The VP-FP government has passed the family/child tax credit in their common cabinet council today and even expanded it compared with their original version:

https://kurier.at/politik/inland/regierung-weitet-familienbonus-aus/305.724.469

After attacks from SP, Greens, Pilz & Co., the government also decided to relieve single-mothers (& fathers), who often pay no income tax at all (because they mostly work part-time) and would therefore not be eligible for the child tax benefit. VP-FP also expanded it for families with university students older than 18. The tax cut will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019 - retroactively for the year 2018. My sister (2 kids) for example will get a tax cut of some 3000 and my brother some 1500. My family will benefit quite a lot from these new policies ...
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #308 on: January 10, 2018, 06:45:58 am »
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Vienna Mayor Michael Hupl (SP) to officially retire on May 24:

http://derstandard.at/2000071834571/Haeupl-will-Ende-Mai-Job-als-Buergermeister-uebergeben

In 2 weeks already (Jan. 27), the Vienna-SP and ca. 1000 party delegates will elect their new party leader. The main candidates are Andreas Schieder (backed by Hupl and the left-liberal inner-city SP crowd) and Michael Ludwig (backed by the big, population-rich outlying districts and some important unions). I think Ludwig has a chance, but many delegates are still loyal to Hupl, even if voters in general think he's a "stubborn dinosaur glued to his seat" and worn out after 25 years in the office ... Will definitely be interesting to see who the SP delegates are going to pick.
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #309 on: January 11, 2018, 03:59:53 am »
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The VP/FP-government has decided to raise* (I repeat: RAISE) the annual quota for non-EU immigrants + quota for family reunions + seasonal workers this year:

http://derstandard.at/2000071908843/Regierung-erhoeht-Quote-fuer-Zuwanderer-aus-Nicht-EU-Ausland

Initiated by Herbert Kickl, the FP Interior Minister, who the international media called the "most extreme hardliner" in the cabinet ...

* by 320 persons.
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #310 on: January 11, 2018, 05:25:43 am »
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Chancellor Kurz to fly to Paris tomorrow to meet with Macron, then to Berlin next week to meet with Merkel, then a meeting with Orban in Vienna at the end of January, followed by the Munich Security Conference in February and a trip to Israel.
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« Reply #311 on: January 11, 2018, 06:08:55 am »
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The VP/FP-government has decided to raise* (I repeat: RAISE) the annual quota for non-EU immigrants + quota for family reunions + seasonal workers this year:

http://derstandard.at/2000071908843/Regierung-erhoeht-Quote-fuer-Zuwanderer-aus-Nicht-EU-Ausland

Initiated by Herbert Kickl, the FP Interior Minister, who the international media called the "most extreme hardliner" in the cabinet ...

* by 320 persons.
Why?
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Flo   it seems like everytime i talk to you i have some sort of illness
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #312 on: January 11, 2018, 07:51:18 am »
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The VP/FP-government has decided to raise* (I repeat: RAISE) the annual quota for non-EU immigrants + quota for family reunions + seasonal workers this year:

http://derstandard.at/2000071908843/Regierung-erhoeht-Quote-fuer-Zuwanderer-aus-Nicht-EU-Ausland

Initiated by Herbert Kickl, the FP Interior Minister, who the international media called the "most extreme hardliner" in the cabinet ...

* by 320 persons.
Why?

Don't know really why. The quota is never met anyway, because Austria has an immigration surplus of at least 20.000 from non-EU countries every year.

But the funny thing is that while VP-FP agreed to raise the quota slightly, the SP came out to attack it, especially the unions - saying it will lead to wage dumping ... Tongue
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #313 on: January 11, 2018, 11:25:06 am »
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Interior Minister Kickl (FP) wants to "concentrate" asylum seekers in camps, until their asylum request is processed:

Quote
Austrian far-right minister sparks outcry with plans to 'concentrate' asylum seekers in one place

Austria's new far-right interior minister has sparked an outcry by saying that his government wants to 'concentrate' asylum-seekers, employing a word widely associated with Nazi camps.

The Freedom Party's Herbert Kickl said he wants 'basic services centres, suitable infrastructure that enables us to concentrate people in the asylum process in one place'.

His comments come as the party's leader Heinz-Christian Strache, who is also Austria's vice-chancellor, said migrants held in disused barracks and subjected to curfews in order to restore 'order'.

Strache said that the plan should be introduced amongst a raft of drastic measures, such as taking money and mobile phones from new arrivals, to combat Europe's 'open' migration policy.

Alexander Pollak, head of migrants charity SOS Mitmensch, called Kickl's comments a 'deliberate provocation' and left-wing essayist Robert Misik saying 'a Rubicon has been crossed'.

The opposition Green Party warned against the 'language of National Socialism creeping into our way of thinking and feeling', while the NEOS party said Kickl must apologise for his 'deliberate provocation'.

Kickl, who became interior minister last month when his Freedom Party formed a coalition with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's People's Party, later back-peddled, saying he did not 'intend to provoke anyone'.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5259135/Austria-far-right-minister-says-concentrate-migrants.html
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #314 on: January 12, 2018, 10:59:39 am »
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A new Unique Research/Heute poll for the Jan. 28 Lower Austria state election:



http://www.heute.at/politik/news/story/Umfrage--Mikl-Leitner-koennte-Absolute-schaffen-42703866

There are still 2% of voters who say they are voting for "other" parties, even though there are no other parties on the ballot ...
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« Reply #315 on: January 12, 2018, 11:55:41 am »
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Kurz met Macron in Paris today and told him that with the UK out of the EU soon the EU-budget needs to be cut by 12 Bio. , rather than compensating for Brexit with higher spending (which would target net-payers like Austria, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands etc.):

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« Reply #316 on: January 13, 2018, 04:44:23 am »
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The new 24/Research Affairs poll (Jan. 4-10, n=1.020, Online, MoE = +/- 3.2%) has no significant changes compared with the Oct. 2017 election results:



60% say they are happy with the work of the new government, 57% are happy with the cabinet.

http://www.oe24.at/oesterreich/politik/Umfrage-Kurz-bleibt-vorne-Kern-holt-auf/316886860
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« Reply #317 on: January 13, 2018, 08:52:50 am »
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The Austrian economy has likely grown by 3.5 to 4% in real terms in the final quarter of 2017 compared with the previous year, which would be the highest growth rate since before the 2007/2008 financial crisis.

Evidence of this is the new Export indicator from the Austrian National Bank for November and December, which is projecting exports to be up by 10% in the final quarter of 2017 - compared with 7-8% in the quarter before:

https://www.oenb.at/Geldpolitik/Konjunktur/prognosen-fuer-oesterreich/oenb-exportindikator.html

And the Bank Austria Economic Indicator, which has reached the highest level since introduction of that survey in 1998:

https://www.bankaustria.at/files/Konjunkturindikator_12-17.pdf

---

For the year 2017 as a whole, GDP is now projected to be up by 3 to 3.3% in real terms (about 4.8% in nominal terms). The budget deficit was likely 0.8% and debt 78.3% of GDP.

For comparison, Germany and the US "only" had 2.2% GDP growth in 2017.

---

The forecast for the next years is pretty good as well:

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Tender Branson
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« Reply #318 on: January 13, 2018, 09:30:55 am »
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FP, Strache, Hofer & Co. started their election campaign for the Jan. 28 state election in Lower Austria today, the most important election this year.

At an event at the Vsendorf Pyramide Event Center (5.000 people were attending), Strache repeatedly mocked the SP and Kern.



The background reads something like: "Committed to Austria. Serving the People."

Strache called former SP-Chancellor Kern a "grumpy/sulky litte Princess, who's still preoccupied with adjusting his displaced crown" and a "constantly lamenting Socialist".

He also said that the FP is the "New Social Democracy" in the country and that "the SP is looking jealously to the FP because of their success".

He also said that former powerful SP-Chancellor Kreisky in the 1970s would "vote FP these days" and that the FP will bring "social warmth and fairness to the people" instead of the SP.

https://diepresse.com/home/innenpolitik/noewahl/5352970/FPOeNeujahrstreffen_Bruno-Kreisky-wuerde-heute-HC-Strache-waehlen
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #319 on: January 13, 2018, 11:07:13 am »
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Some 20.000 (police) to 60.000 people (organizers) are demonstrating today in Vienna against the VP-FP government (many of the leftist protesters have been bused in from Germany though):

https://kurier.at/politik/inland/live-blog-tausende-demonstrieren-gegen-regierung/306.331.185
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #320 on: January 14, 2018, 02:54:14 am »
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The March 4 state election in Carinthia will be pretty interesting, because there's a variety of lists running. The SP is in a good position there to win the election, but the FP should come close to beating them (maybe within 3-5 points).

In the federal election last October, the FP actually beat the SP in Carinthia - but there are several reasons why they probably won't win the state election: First, the incumbent SP governor Kaiser is not unpopular. Second, the FP is still seen as the party most responsible for the HYPO bank debacle that was the deciding issue in their 2013 election collapse. While the FP has recovered since then, they are not at their full potential yet. And third, the remants of the Team Stronach, now called Team Krnten, are still polling at some 2-5% - which could take the necessary % from the FP in order to win the election.

Other than the SP, the Left in Carinthia is a total mess: The Greens, who received their best result ever in 2013 thanks to the above-mentioned HYPO bank debacle, are now utterly destroyed. Not only did they split, with the new opposing list called F.A.I.R - there's also another new list called "Earth Responsibility", with a frontrunner looking like Jesus.



The only "good" news for the Greens is probably that the Pilz List won't run in the election. But that doesn't matter, since there are 3 Green-minded lists competing for a 7-8% vote potential (with the threshold being 5%). And not only that, the KP (Communists) are also running.

Parties/lists have until the end of January to submit enough signatures to be on the ballot, so there might be a few others running (such as the BZ, or the "Alternative for Carinthia").

Another big question will be: Are FP+VP strong enough to enter a coalition together and oust the SP from the Governorship ? The VP probably won't be as strong as in the federal election, because Kurz did a good job at galvanizing support there, but the local VP is more of the old, deep-black party with historically bad results.

Yet, the funny thing is: FP+VP could oust the SP even by getting 40-45% combined. Why ? If all the small parties fail to cross the 5% threshold, FP+VP would end up as the new government, with the SP being the only opposition party.

There have been no new Carinthia polls for the past year, but the next OGM poll will tell us more.
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« Reply #321 on: January 14, 2018, 09:46:36 am »
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The SP (!) is attacking the FP today, by warning that some 150.000 additional immigrants will come to Austria over the next 5 years - under the plans of the VP-FP government to expand working permits for areas in the economy where there's a shortage of skilled workers. The SP also warned about wage dumping. The FP calls the SP-attacks "ridiculous" and "Red propaganda".

http://orf.at/#/stories/2422455

In other news, Peter Pilz (the founder of the List Pilz) has announced that he'll make a comeback as a politician and MP in parliament during the summer. Pilz announced in November that he would not take his seat in parliament because of sexual misconduct allegations against 2 females. He now says he'll fight the allegations in court and would like to serve in parliament again (another MP would have to renounce his/her seat though). Also, the name of the list will be changed in the coming months and the party will adopt a sharper, more visible image as an opposition party.

http://derstandard.at/2000072243425/Peter-Pilz-kehrt-in-den-Nationalrat-zurueck
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« Reply #322 on: January 14, 2018, 03:18:09 pm »
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Do you think PILZ will be defeated in state and local elections pretty badly and will most likely lose their seats the next time around?
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« Reply #323 on: January 15, 2018, 12:06:19 am »
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Do you think PILZ will be defeated in state and local elections pretty badly and will most likely lose their seats the next time around?

PILZ is not even running in the 4 state elections this year because these elections are too early for them and B) it's also way too early to tell what will happen in the 2022 election.
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« Reply #324 on: January 15, 2018, 12:38:16 pm »
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President Van der Bellen's first wife died yesterday and the father of his current wife died today.

Sad

http://derstandard.at/2000072294369/Todesfaelle-in-der-Familie-des-Bundespraesidenten
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