New ÖVP team sworn in Hofburg

The resigned Minister of Agriculture Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) was not relieved of her office for the time being. Originally, she would have wanted to hand over her ministry immediately after the swearing-in. The confidante of ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) resigned on Monday, as did Economics Minister Margarete Schramböck (ÖVP) and made the castling necessary. With the change in personnel a few days before the ÖVP party conference on Saturday, the tasks within the ÖVP ministries will also be redistributed.

In his speech, the Federal President, who was already used to making swearings, called for “upholding and defending our values ​​and liberal democracy”. Each individual must also contribute to this. Austria and Europe are in a difficult situation in view of the Ukraine war and high inflation and rising energy prices. That is also the “most important task” for the new team to solve these major challenges. In addition, Van der Bellen called for respectful interaction with each other: “We have to talk plainly to each other,” he said, referring to the fact that unpleasant things should also be addressed.

Swearing in by Federal President Van der Bellen

APA

Two newcomers to the ÖVP team: Kraus-Winkler (2nd from right) and Tursky (right), the third newcomer, Totschnig, was missing due to a CoV infection

Economic department is saved

The agriculture department loses telecom agendas to the finance ministry, tourism to the economics ministry and community service to the youth secretariat. The Ministry of Economic Affairs hands over the digital area to the Ministry of Finance, and the remainder is merged with the Labor Department.

This saves the Ministry of Economics as an independent department. The Secretary of State for Youth Claudia Plakolm, who was installed in the Chancellery when Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) took office, will have more work: In the future, she will also take care of the civilian service agenda.

Experts see internal party logic

For experts, the selection of the new team reflects internal party logic. For example, it is “clear that the farmers’ association has a ‘heritage lease’ on the Ministry of Agriculture,” said political expert Thomas Hofer to ORF.at. At the same time, the interests of Tyrol were served twice during the reorganization.

The new Minister of Agriculture Totschnig was previously the Director of the Farmers’ Association in Tyrol, and Digital State Secretary Tursky was previously the Office Manager of the Tyrolean Governor Günther Platter (ÖVP). Hofer sees the appointment of the new Secretary of State for Tourism, Kraus-Winkler, as a signal to the ÖVP Economic Association.

Nehammer: Qualification is decisive

In an interview with the Ö1 morning journal, Nehammer rejected these selection criteria. Everyone needs to work together: “We belong together.” Obligations to countries and associations were not decisive for the orders, but solely the qualifications and willingness of those concerned. Nehammer also emphasized that Kocher was not part of the ÖVP.

Nehammer had to react quickly to the resignations. He was prepared for it, he said in an interview. The resigning ministers should have the freedom to choose the date of their resignation, after it had already been discussed before: “That is a human imperative.” In the meantime, the time has been used to prepare the reorganization. The Greens have to agree to the change in competence shifts, since the laws have to be changed for this.

Kocher seeks a reconciliation of interests in the ministry

In view of the size of his department, the new Labor and Economics Minister Kocher will be referred to as a “super minister”; in future it will be called the Ministry of Labor and Economics. “I vouch that workers will play a big role,” Kocher said before his inauguration. It is now a question of creating a balance of interests in the department. Kocher also sees having both topics in one ministry as an “opportunity”.

Christoph Neumayr, General Secretary of the Federation of Industry, is positive about the merger of the two agendas. The previous competencies of the Ministry of Economic Affairs were very limited, he told Ö1. The trade union federation and the chamber of labor were rather skeptical about the merger of the two agendas and fear that the interests of the employees will be less heard.

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