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Government: Austrian Chancellor continues coalition with Greens

Government: Austrian Chancellor continues coalition with Greens
Government: Austrian Chancellor continues coalition with Greens

A few months before the parliamentary elections, the coalition is almost at an end. The Chancellor’s party is suing the Green Party’s Environment Minister. Nevertheless, work continues.

Austria’s conservative Chancellor Karl Nehammer does not want to end the government cooperation with the Greens despite a serious conflict over an EU environmental protection law. The coalition is actually at an end, said the ÖVP leader in Brussels. “If you ask me how I feel: yes, it is time, it makes no sense like this,” he told journalists. Previously, Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) had agreed to an ambitious EU environmental law against the will of the ÖVP.

This is “a more than serious breach of trust,” said Nehammer. But if the government collapses just a few months before the parliamentary elections, the country would plunge into chaos. “I will not do that,” he said.

In the morning, Gewessler’s vote at a meeting of EU environment ministers in Luxembourg enabled a majority to support the controversial EU renaturation law. Shortly after her vote, the ÖVP announced that it would file criminal charges against Gewessler for alleged abuse of office. The Chancellery also wants to prevent the EU law by filing an action for annulment before the European Court of Justice.

From the ÖVP’s point of view, Gewessler has illegally ignored other cabinet members and an existing veto by the Austrian state leaders against the law. However, Gewessler believes her actions are legally justified. Vice Chancellor Kogler (Greens) was “very, very calm” about the announced legal steps in a statement. “I am completely convinced that we should continue to work calmly and with strength in the government,” he said.

Nehammer is under a lot of pressure. The ÖVP was overtaken by the right-wing and EU-critical FPÖ in the EU elections and relegated to second place. The FPÖ is also in first place in the polls for the election in September.

Source: Stern

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