Last year it was the pandemic that separated the ÖVP and FPÖ. This year it’s the EU sanctions against Russia. At the state level, the black-blue coalition is still working excellently, said the heads of the state parliament of the ÖVP and FPÖ, Christian Dörfel and Herwig Mahr, on Friday. They also “coped well with the darned seventh year”.
In 2015, black-blue replaced the previous black-green state coalition. After the state elections a year ago, the ÖVP and FPÖ extended the coalition.
Dörfel and Mahr announced on Friday that the state budget for 2023 would be “characterised by anti-inflation”, but left details open. It is also unclear when one can return to a zero-debt policy. Both do not think it is very realistic in this legislative period (until 2027).
Criticism from the opposition that the country was doing too little to combat inflation was rejected by both of them, citing, for example, the increase in the heating cost subsidy or the extension of the housing allowance as measures that had already been taken. Mahr called the fact that Lower Austria grants its own electricity price discount in addition to the federal electricity price brake “a pure optional treat”. Dörfel did not explicitly disagree.
U-committees as “lynchings”
In the opinion of Dörfel and Mahr, measures against inflation primarily require structural changes that are not within the sphere of the state. Provincial Governor Thomas Stelzer (VP) also called for urgent support from the federal government for companies, not least in view of the temporary closure of brickworks in Upper Austria (more on page 15).
Dörfel and Mahr rejected the Neos demand for the convening of investigative commissions in the state parliament, also with a minority decision. It’s about “objectification,” said Dörfel. The investigative committees in parliament have “degenerated into lynch law and popular amusement”.
One of the next items on the black-blue agenda is social welfare reform. No change of direction is to be expected when it comes to wind power, where the country’s master plan hardly allows for new projects and only the repowering of existing systems.
As expected, the opposition sees the black-blue balance sheet as less rosy. Green club boss Severin Mayr spoke of “seven lost years”. Black and blue have forgotten the women in Upper Austria, said the designated SP club boss Sabine Engleitner-Neu.