Rendi-Wagner criticizes SPÖ top diplomats

Rendi-Wagner criticizes SPÖ top diplomats

Pamela Rendi-Wagner Die Presse/Clemens Fabry


Rendi-Wagner is not only party leader, but also foreign policy spokeswoman for the SPÖ.Die Presse/Clemens Fabry

The SPÖ party leader would like the “experienced voices of older experts to concern themselves less with their own party than with their political competitors”.

SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner reacted with criticism to critical words from SPÖ top diplomats around ex-Bosnia representative Wolfgang Petritsch. She would like the “experienced voices of older experts to be less concerned with their own party than with their political competitors,” she told the television channel “ATV” on Friday. The group had previously approached Andreas Babler with a foreign policy position paper.

“Social Democracy has always acted on a European and international level. Today, this claim is more important than ever. But in the last few decades, this networking has not been sufficiently pursued,” said the statement by the seven foreign policy experts distributed by Team Babler on Thursday . This formulation is aimed at Rendi-Wagner, who is not only party leader, but also its foreign policy spokeswoman.

“The SPÖ must reposition itself in terms of foreign policy,” said Petritsch. A position paper on foreign and European policy was formulated and it was believed that the mayor of Traiskirch was “best able to implement it”. He appreciates Rendi-Wagner very much as a person, but in the five years at the top of foreign policy she had “put together neither a team, nor a program, nor an orientation”. That’s why “hope died” for him in relation to Rendi-Wagner. He could not support the Burgenland governor Hans Peter Doskozil because he had “schemed” within the party.

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“Not part of Babler’s campaign”

Rendi-Wagner told ATV that it was “not surprising” that former foreign policy officials from ex-chancellors wished “that the party, the Social Democrats, set even more accents in this area in particular”. However, “many priorities have already been set,” Rendi-Wagner referred to, for example, the National Council’s foreign policy committee dealing with the issues of Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey and the “very clear pro-European agenda.”

However, one of the co-signatories of the paper backtracked and presented a completely different interpretation of the initiative. It was about conveying the foreign policy principles of social democracy to the Traiskirchner mayor, who in the past “showed a minus in certain foreign policy issues”, said ex-ambassador Eva Nowotny of the daily newspaper “Der Standard” (online edition). The paper is also not to be understood as “fundamental criticism of SPÖ foreign policy” or “settlement”, but at best as a reminder for all three SPÖ presidential candidates. “We don’t see ourselves as part of Andreas Babler’s campaign,” said the former foreign policy adviser to ex-Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, who is supporting Rendi-Wagner in the presidential election campaign.

Petritsch was secretary to ex-Chancellor Bruno Kreisky for many years. After making an international name for himself as an expert on the Balkans in the 1990s, before the 2002 National Council elections he was considered an SPÖ contender for the post of foreign minister. Other signatories to the paper are Nowotny’s husband Thomas, who was also Kreisky’s secretary, and the former ambassadors Georg Lennkh, Peter Moser and Helfried Carl. Lennkh was also EU Special Envoy for Chad, while Carl worked as office manager for the then President of the National Council, Barbara Prammer.

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