Sebastian Kurz becomes a father – BZ Berlin

Sweet news from Vienna: Sebastian Kurz is going to be a father!

The Austrian Chancellor announced this on Facebook on Saturday. The child’s mother is Susanne Thier (35), who has been his steadfast partner since school.

According to BILD information, only close family members knew about it so far, the birth is expected in December.

Sebastian Kurz wrote on Facebook: “We are overjoyed and grateful that there will be three of us soon. A wonderful joint task awaits us, which we look forward to with great anticipation. I ask for your understanding that we will keep our private life private as before, but I am glad to be able to share this joy that will soon be evident with you! “

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With the baby news, the wedding rumors about the longtime couple are likely to intensify again, which have so far neither been confirmed nor denied.

Parental leave for the Chancellor?

In any case, the Chancellor baby will not be the first offspring in the Austrian federal government: Integration Minister Susanne Raab (ÖVP) said goodbye to baby break in mid-June, Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) became the mother of a son in January.

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However, there is no real maternity protection regulation for women politicians in Austria. The provisions of the Maternity Protection Act do not apply to members of the government, parliamentarians or mayors, nor are they entitled to parental leave (mostly unpaid leave from work).

Because: A political mandate is not an employee relationship.

It has not yet been announced whether the Chancellor will take a break shortly after the birth of his child.


Motto #mitneuerkraft – Chancellor Kurz starts Austria summer tour in Lower Austria

The ÖVP boss will continue with appointments in Styria on Saturday. Kurz wants to get together personally with the people of Austria on the tour, “to listen to them and to recharge their batteries”, as he said in the run-up to the APA.

With the impressions from the personal conversations, Kurz wants to “get started and tackle the important issues for Austria” in the autumn. “Because there is still a lot ahead of us. We have to face the consequences of the crisis courageously. Resolutely to continue on our path. And to look forward together,” said the Chancellor. The past few months “have demanded a lot from each and every one of us”. Fighting the pandemic was the focus, it suddenly tore everyone out of their usual everyday life and forced them into social isolation. But “we mastered the crisis well and are in a better position today than many others,” summarizes Kurz.

“Now we have a summer ahead of us that will allow us to return to normality. Finally it is possible to meet friends and family again. Finally we can enjoy holidays again. Finally we can get together again. And recharge our batteries together.”

The tour extends over the whole summer and ends with the climax on August 28, 2021. The 39th ordinary federal party conference of the People’s Party will take place in St. Pölten. Federal Chancellor Kurz is running again for federal party chairman and has already been unanimously nominated by the federal party executive.

After Styria, the tour continues in Vorarlberg on July 20, and Kurz visits Salzburg on July 22. On July 28th, Burgenland is on the agenda and on July 29th, Upper Austria, where a state election is due in September. It is Carinthia’s turn on July 30th. On August 23rd it goes again to Styria and on August 24th to Tyrol.


Sebastian Kurz in his greatest crisis

The Ibiza Committee has brought an investigation into Sebastian Kurz. Now Austria’s Chancellor has to testify again. His ÖVP railed against the “political tribunal”, the opposition felt mocked.

Gernot Blümel doesn’t want to say anything, and he won’t say anything either. Austria’s finance minister, the closest political companion of ÖVP Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, is sitting in front of the Ibiza Committee in the Vienna Hofburg on a humid Thursday, separated from the MPs by a plexiglass wall. Blümel has been invited to provide information, but the parliamentarians wait in vain for information. A total of 35 times he invokes Section 43, Paragraph 1, Item 1 of the Rules of Procedure, everyone here in the chimney room of the National Library knows what that means: Blümel invokes his right to refuse to testify.

“A mockery of parliament” is what the opposition calls the finance minister’s four-hour appearance; Blümel thinks that the body “damaged the political discourse in this country”. This has been going on for over a year and a total of 53 meetings: The Ibiza Committee is the largest political arena in Austria, the stage for bitter disputes and power games.

That has never happened before

The legendary Ibiza video is only marginally involved, in the Hofburg a much more fundamental question is to be clarified: Was or is politics in Austria for sale? Can you really choose a nice post or handy laws for a donation? What was it that ex-FPÖ boss Heinz-Christian Strache told the alleged oligarch niece over tons of Vodka-Red-Bull – truth or crap? Quite a few rich and powerful had to answer questions, Karstadt owner René Benko was there, weapons patriarch Kathrin Glock and the entire political elite of the republic from Chancellor Sebastian Kurz downwards.

Chancellor Kurz in focus: The interest was huge right from his first appearance. (Source: Eibner Europa / imago images)

This Thursday there will be a showdown when Sebastian Kurz takes a seat as an informant for the second time. With his first appearance, the youngest head of government in Europe maneuvered himself into the greatest crisis of his term in office: The judiciary is investigating false testimony, an indictment threatens with unforeseeable political consequences for his coalition with the Greens. There has never been an active chancellor in the dock in Austria.

All against the Chancellor’s Party

The investigations do not stop with the Federal Chancellor, the judiciary is also targeting powerful figures from his environment, including Finance Minister Blümel, Kurz’s head of cabinet, the ex-finance minister, two ex-vice chancellors, an ex-ÖVP party vice, and a senior judicial officer and the ex-head of the state holding company. The allegations range from false statements and breaches of official secrecy to bribery.

Strache’s seminar in the Austrian “Freunderlwirtschaft” in Ibiza provided enough initial suspicion for raids in which corruption hunters collected the cell phones of some VIPs. The investigation files then go to the committee, which is supposed to clarify political responsibility. Because investigators found not only traces of Strache’s ex-FPÖ party, but above all of the Chancellor’s party, a strange constellation emerges in the committee: everyone against the ÖVP – including the coalition partners of the Greens. For this reason, ÖVP man Andreas Hanger once called the committee a “political tribunal”.

In fact, things are not exactly cozy in Austria: fierce rules of procedure debates regularly slow down the round of questions, MPs have to justify themselves because they allegedly bite into the Leberkässemmel too relish, and respondents repeatedly drive parliamentarians with the Ibiza Disease Committee into despair: spontaneous dementia. The record is held by Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, who cited memory gaps 86 times in his first survey.

“They go to me at the Oasch, everyone!”

It was the day when Stephanie Krisper became better known than she would like: The leader of the liberal Neos parliamentary group, exasperated by the wall tactics, cursed to herself – because she had accidentally not switched off her microphone, the whole hall could get her Viennese grant hear: “They go to me at the Oasch, everyone!”

Enlightener Stephanie Krisper from the Neos: Any distraction from the core of the Ibiza Committee is repugnant to her.  (Source: imago images / SEPA.Media)Enlightener Stephanie Krisper from the Neos: Any distraction from the core of the Ibiza Committee is repugnant to her. (Source: SEPA.Media/imago images)

Krisper rolls his eyes when you ask her about the sentence: “That was unnecessary, it distracted from Mr. Blümel’s appearance.” The trained lawyer likes her answers short and straightforward, as does her questions in the committee. With her no-bullshit attitude, she has earned a good reputation as an educator. She detests any distraction from the actual topic of the committee, you can see it when again debates on rules of procedure are started that cost valuable time. Like Sebastian Kurz’s first appearance about a year ago, when he made what is perhaps the most momentous mistake of his career.

As a person providing information, the Chancellor was obliged to tell the truth, as usual he was informed about this before his questioning. What followed was a four-hour tour de force of post chats, donations and backroom politics, quite confrontational. Kurz was always up to date. When Krisper interrupted him once, the Chancellor counters: “I’m still on my word, right?”

“Totally relaxed”, that’s how Krisper experienced the Chancellor on this memorable day: “He made us feel like he was above the committee.” Shortly thereafter, he appeared in front of the press, repeating his most important point: “I was not in Ibiza.” But he did not tell the truth in one crucial detail question, says the business and corruption prosecutor: when he appointed his companion Thomas Schmid as head of the billion-dollar state holding ÖBAG, Kurz only “wanted to have been involved in the sense of being informed”. Apparently he had no idea what the investigators would read on Schmid’s cell phone.

“I love my chancellor”

A few weeks before the investigators took his phone in a raid, Thomas Schmid had deleted all of his chats. But IT experts found a back-up, around 300,000 messages were back, a cash cow for the judiciary. In March of this year, messages from Sebastian Kurz to Thomas Schmid finally appeared in the media: “You can get everything you want anyway,” wrote the Chancellor, followed by three kissing emojis. The answer: “I love my Chancellor.”

Krisper immediately sent a fact sheet to the prosecutor. It is not the first time she has accused a committee member of a false testimony, but it is the first time an investigation has opened. A surprise? “Based on my experience: Yes. Based on the factual substrate: No.”

The proceedings against Kurz became known in May, a turning point for the committee: if the tone was always rough, it has now become irreconcilable. Kurz suddenly remembers “underhands and allegations” during his questioning and quotes the alleged statement of a former trial judge: “Every murderer is treated better in court than someone who informs the committee.”

Finance minister lets guerrilla war escalate

His party colleague Wolfgang Sobotka made people sit up and take notice with a memorable suggestion: he could imagine abolishing the truthfulness obligation for those providing information. Incidentally, Sobotka is parliamentary president and also chairman of the committee and had to change the seat of the informant twice because, as president, he heads an institute that has received grants from the Novomatic gaming company – a topic that Stephanie Krisper and other MPs should better just address. when you have a lot of time. In short: All parties except the ÖVP consider Sobotka to be biased, but he can only declare himself biased. A problem with the rules of procedure.

Finance Minister Gernot Blümel: Kurz's closest confidante invoked his right to remain silent dozens of times.  (Source: imago images / SEPA.Media)Finance Minister Gernot Blümel: Kurz’s closest confidante invoked his right to remain silent dozens of times. (Source: SEPA.Media/imago images)

Finance Minister Gernot Blümel meanwhile let his own guerrilla war with the committee escalate: he refused to deliver files, despite the verdict of the Constitutional Court. In the meantime, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen had to “execute” the order, he sent judges to Blümel’s ministry to look for further files. A unique event in Austria’s post-war history.

Concern for the rule of law

“Almost a constitutional crisis,” says Peter Filzmaier. The political professor is a regular on Austrian television and is better known than many a minister, he is familiar with intrigues and power struggles. But he sees “with great misgivings” how the ÖVP is going out against parliament and the judiciary.

Kurz himself sniffed “red networks” in the judiciary, ie SPÖ connection, his party friends in the committee even attacked individual prosecutors by name and accused them of bias. “It is to be feared that this will damage the judiciary,” says Filzmaier.

A concern shared by dignitaries – at the beginning of June, the chairmen of the four higher regional courts opposed “attempts to shake confidence in the judiciary for party-political, personal or populist reasons (…).”

The addressee does not appear by name, it is not necessary anyway. The attacks are more or less open, even the coalition partner of the Greens felt compelled to recommend restraint to the ÖVP. It is unclear whether the Greens want to continue the coalition with a chancellor in the dock on charges against Kurz for false testimony. The ÖVP seems to be preparing for the worst case, for the first time since Kurz’s rise to party leader and chancellor in 2017, names of possible successors are circulating through political Vienna. What Kurz needs is a break – maybe on Thursday in the Ibiza Committee.


EU summit: Syria refugees – approval for billion euro package to Turkey

Dhe EU heads of state and government have supported plans for a further billion-euro package to support Syrian refugees in Turkey. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) said on Friday night that the EU summit “took note of and approved” a proposal by the EU Commission. Accordingly, it is about “three billion euros in additional funds” for Turkey. In addition, there should also be funds for the neighboring countries of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

According to the conclusions, the summit now called on the Commission to submit final proposals for the refugee package “without delay”. These would then be “formally endorsed,” said Merkel.

In the run-up to the summit, the Commission had discussed a package with a total volume of 5.7 billion euros by 2024. Of this, 3.5 billion euros should be earmarked for Turkey, although 500 million euros have already been decided for the current year.

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EU-Turkey Refugee Pact

In a 2016 refugee agreement, the EU pledged six billion euros to Ankara for the 3.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. These are now largely issued or firmly planned. Turkey has long been demanding that the EU provide new money.

With the funds, the EU had honored Turkey’s willingness to take back refugees newly arriving on the Greek islands. This led to a significant decrease in the number of arrivals in Greece.

In the past few years, however, relations between the two sides had deteriorated significantly. Turkish exploratory drilling for gas in the eastern Mediterranean had led to tension with EU members Greece and Cyprus. On the question of the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also questioned the EU-supported goal of reunification.

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The heads of state and government have now welcomed the easing of the tension in the gas dispute with Turkey. They regretted, however, that a meeting on the Cyprus question under the aegis of the UN in Geneva “did not pave the way for a resumption of formal negotiations”.

Part of the 2016 refugee pact was the EU promise to start talks on modernizing the customs union. However, because of Erdogan’s massive action against domestic opponents, this project had been put on hold for years. In the past few months, however, both sides had made a new attempt.

The summit now noted the start of preliminary technical talks for a mandate for the modernization of the customs union. In the conclusions, however, he emphasized the need to address “the current difficulties” in the implementation of the previous customs union and to apply them effectively to all member states.

Before that, the Delta variant was the big issue

For fear of the spread of the delta variant of the corona virus, the EU states only want to open their borders to travelers from third countries carefully and in a coordinated manner. This was what groups of participants reported on Thursday evening from the debate at the summit. Merkel had previously called for more uniform rules for entry from areas with virus variants. The delta variant is considered more contagious than other forms of the coronavirus and is also spreading in the EU.

That is why the 27 EU countries want to continue promoting the vaccination campaign, as the summit declaration on Covid-19 shows. According to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, around 220 million Europeans will be vaccinated at least once by Sunday – around 60 percent of adults in the EU. In the second half of the year, large quantities of the vaccine are expected to come. “Now it is important to increase the speed of the vaccination campaigns in the member states,” wrote von der Leyen on Twitter.

The pandemic was the first big issue at the two-day summit – and perhaps the least controversial. Migration policy, the relationship with Turkey and the strategy for dealing with Russia were also on the agenda.

Fierce dispute over Hungary

The summit was overshadowed by a bitter dispute over a new Hungarian law restricting information about homosexuality.

17 states have protested and warned against discrimination against sexual minorities – including Germany. Together with other heads of state and government, Merkel wrote a letter to EU leaders and expressed concern about the threat to fundamental rights. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán rejected the criticism.

According to participants, a heated debate with sharp criticism of Hungary then flared up behind closed doors. An EU representative confirmed that the discussion was “deepened and in some cases even emotional”. “It was crucial for the top 27 leaders to be open about the matter.” Diplomats said that backing for Orbán had signaled Poland and Slovenia. The discussion dragged on for two hours.

Agreement on migration

The 27 states quickly came to an agreement at a summit declaration on migration. However, it was already clear beforehand that no progress would be made with the common asylum policy. Therefore, the explanation focused on external aspects. It speaks of pragmatic, flexible and individually tailored agreements with countries of origin and transit countries in order to prevent people from fleeing to Europe.

But there are new concerns: the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan could make the situation there even more unsafe and drive even more people to flee to Europe. The Baltic states have also warned against an escape movement via Belarus into the EU. The number of migrants on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border has increased dramatically, said Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda. Behind this is suspected a targeted maneuver by the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko to put the EU under pressure.

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EU-Turkey Refugee Pact

For Merkel, it is the last scheduled EU summit before the federal election that she will no longer run. But she could be at the summit again in October before the formation of the new federal government. In a government statement in the Bundestag, the Chancellor emphasized the importance of close cooperation between the EU in crises such as the pandemic. In the first corona shock, actions were coordinated nationally instead of European. “We know today that we can do better and will do better in the future,” said Merkel.


Briefly meets with Drosten for corona advice – politics

Austria’s Chancellor on Corona mission in Berlin: Because of the delta mutation, Kurz will have an intensive exchange with top virologist Drosten.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) expects a comprehensive work program on the occasion of his visit to Berlin. In addition to a video conference that has already taken place with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a working discussion with Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble and a speech at a conference of the Professional Association of German Internists (BDI) await. And: Shortly will meet with the German top virologist Christian Drosten.

The corona counseling at the Berlin Charité will mainly revolve around the vaccination progress and the delta variant, which is spreading more and more in Europe. “The situation in Germany and Austria is developing very well with low levels of infection. With the 3G rule, we have a very good safety network in Austria, we rely on FFP2 masks and, which is unique in Austria, we have a very high density of tests “said Chancellor Kurz.

“With two vaccinations from Biontech / Pfizer or AstraZeneca you are very well protected against the Delta variant”

But: “We must now take the Delta variant seriously and observe it closely, but there is no need to panic, because all vaccines that we use also work against the Delta variant. Therefore, the message can only be: vaccinate, vaccinate, Vaccinate. Against the Delta variant, it will be decisive that as many as possible can be vaccinated twice, “said the Chancellor. Figures from Great Britain would show that “you are very well protected against the Delta variant with two vaccinations from Biontech / Pfizer or AstraZeneca”.

“The best remedy against a re-spread or another wave is vaccination”

Despite good numbers, caution should be exercised, so Kurz, virus variants such as the current Delta variant should be taken very seriously. “The best remedy against a renewed spread or further wave is vaccination. The increasing willingness to vaccinate in the population and the vaccination progress make us positive and optimistic. Even if the opening steps and return to normality are currently in the foreground, there is always a small one Residual risk, “said Kurz.

Kurz already pays his respects to top virologist Christian Drosten in advance: “Research and science have been a key factor in fighting pandemics in the past year and a half. This expertise must not be neglected in the coming months, so I’m looking forward to the exchange and assessments with Christian Drosten. “

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“The next opening steps are just around the corner” – politics

Federal Chancellor Kurz and Vice Chancellor Kogler emphasize: “The high level of well-being of the Austrians confirms the successful fight against the pandemic.”

Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler emphasize in light of a new study by the Boston Consulting Group, which confirms that Austrians are particularly well-being in an international comparison, that the fight against pandemic has worked well overall in recent months.

“Austria occupies a top position in the ‘Well-being Index’ and ranks fifth among 141 countries worldwide. The fact that the well-being of people in Austria even increased during the Corona crisis according to the study results is also justified by the domestic resilience that above This is mainly due to the many government aid instruments. But it is also thanks to the unique test strategy and the high vaccination rate that we have come through the crisis well so far, ”said the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor.

“Look optimistically into the future”

“As head of government, I see it as my task to understand Austria’s top position as an incentive and to contribute to further strengthening the well-being of Austrians. That the next steps towards opening are just around the corner and that our country’s economic comeback is currently taking more and more concrete forms , makes me – like many others – look to the future with great optimism “, explains Federal Chancellor Kurz.

And further: “It is also a positive signal that the OECD revised its economic forecast for Austria upwards a few days ago, namely to GDP growth of 3.4 percent in 2021 and 4.2 percent in the following year. Accordingly, we are convinced that the economic upswing and job creation can continue unabated. “

“Work is far from over”

Vice Chancellor Kogler added: “It is good to see that we in Austria got through the pandemic comparatively well and the people who live here are still doing well. But the study rightly reminds us that the work is far from over is and above all we have to continue investing in climate protection, digitization, education and social security systems. “

And: “With Austria’s Comeback Plan, we want to do just that and create high-quality jobs of the future with the largest climate protection investments ever made. At the same time, we protect the environment – a basic requirement for the quality of life of the next generations.”

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Head of the Austrian state holding goes after criticism

Sebastian Kurz

The investigations of the Vienna Public Prosecutor’s Office for Corruption and Corruption (WKStA) threaten to slow down Kurz’s political soar.

(Photo: Reuters)

Wien After persistent criticism, the head of the Austrian state holding company ÖBAG, Thomas Schmid, is stepping down from his post with immediate effect. The supervisory board had agreed to a mutual agreement with Schmid, announced the ÖBAG on Tuesday. “After the ongoing discussion of the last few months, the supervisory board reassessed the situation around the ÖBAG management board with legal advice.”

Schmid has hit the headlines several times in the past few months. The occasion was chat logs that became known through investigations by the public prosecutor. Among other things, the minutes gave the impression that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) could have exercised significant influence on the appointment of his confidante as ÖBAG boss in April 2019. Because he has denied this influence, Kurz sees himself exposed to investigations on suspicion of false testimony in a parliamentary committee of inquiry.

The investigations of the Vienna Public Prosecutor’s Office for Corruption and Corruption (WKStA) threaten to slow down Kurz’s political soar. “This is clearly the biggest crisis of his term in office so far,” said political advisor Thomas Hofer of the Reuters news agency. The image of Kurz, who is used to success and who is said to have ambitions for the office of EU Commission President, suffered immensely internationally.

Kurz himself expects an indictment, but not a conviction. He has ruled out a resignation. He is convinced that he has done nothing wrong. “What I definitely know is that I went to the U-Committee with the intention of answering the questions truthfully,” said Kurz.

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Recently, Schmid’s other chat messages appeared, which, among other things, are supposed to prove a planned attack on the ÖBAG works council. The state holding manages eleven industrial holdings, including in the energy group OMV, Telekom Austria and the Post with a current total value of around 27 billion euros. The ÖBAG director Christine Catasta was appointed interim board member. However, you will not apply for the top job, it said. The search for the board of directors will continue quickly.

More: Comment: Sebastian Kurz’s political style of showmanship and camaraderie has reached its limits.


Controversy full of poison: New elections are not ruled out in Austria

Updated May 25, 2021 at 7:08 p.m.

  • One year after the start of the Ibiza Committee of Inquiry, its political explosive power becomes clear.
  • Now Chancellor Sebastian Kurz himself is in distress.
  • The question is: if the worst comes to the worst, will the green coalition partner stand by him? Otherwise there is a risk of new elections.

You can find more current news here

The tone is more than rough. Far away from the cameras, Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is a man “without decency, without respect and without morality,” says MP Jan Krainer from the opposition SPÖ in the National Council. The critic countered that the culture of debate has not been about the competition of the best ideas for several months. “It’s absolutely and exclusively about defaming, damaging and somehow destroying others.”

The domestic political climate in Austria is a burden like seldom

The most recent parliamentary week showed that the domestic political climate in Austria is more polluted than ever. The reason: the Ibiza committee of inquiry and its consequences. With the first working session around a year ago, a process began that has now also brought the Chancellor into distress. In a few months it will be decided whether the prosecution will indict him on suspicion of false testimony in the committee.

What are the consequences if you are charged? A government crisis seems certain, new elections are not ruled out. According to a survey, three out of four Austrians assume that the coalition of the conservative ÖVP and the Greens will break up sooner or later. “Trust has been lost,” says pollster Sophie Karmasin. Without a pandemic, the call for new elections would be even louder than it is now. The 34-year-old Kurz, who actually wants to be carried away by the joy of numerous corona relaxations in Austria, looks vulnerable.

Suspicion: Brief influence on ÖBAG items

The suspicion: He is said to have downplayed his influence on the appointment of a confidante to the chief position at the state holding ÖBAG with its industrial holdings worth a total of 27 billion euros. From the point of view of the opposition, however, he has in truth pulled the strings and thus provided an example of how attempts were made to install a network that was pleasing to the rulers during the time of the ÖVP-FPÖ government from December 2017 to May 2019. Chat logs should prove that.

Despite all the criticism, Kurz and his ÖVP are currently far ahead in surveys. But the investigation is uncomfortable for him. An indictment would worsen the situation. “The government bank and the dock do not go together,” the opposition said. Kurz himself has made it clear that, like current or former heads of government in Italy and Israel, he is not thinking of withdrawing in the event of criminal proceedings.

Greens play a key role in the dispute

The Greens will play the key role as coalition partners of the ÖVP. “Clean environment, clean politics”, her credo would be put to the test in the event of an indictment. So far they have been playing for time and are largely keeping a low profile. Political analysts agree that loyalty to the coalition would have a high price to pay for the approval of the green electorate.

According to lawyers, Kurz would have a good chance of not being convicted if he were charged. To do this, one would have to prove an intentional false statement to the head of government. He himself sees any discrepancies favored by suggestive questions and verbiage and by no means deliberately.

Ibiza-U-Committee will end – against the will of the opposition

Meanwhile, it is clear: The Ibiza committee on the “presumed buyability” of the ÖVP-FPÖ government will end in July. The majority of the ÖVP and the Greens rejected the opposition’s request for a three-month extension. With this, the Greens have changed from a “revelation party to a cover-up party”, criticized SPÖ managing director Christian Deutsch.

The committee has no fewer than 1.5 million pages of documents available for inspection – mainly material from the ministries and the prosecutor’s office. So far, the MPs have interviewed around 100 respondents in their meetings. Among them were the top politicians, entrepreneurs, the rich and the super-rich. The basic question was always: could companies buy favors or even laws against party donations? The answers of the parties have so far been very different.

The opposition can enforce a new edition, but then all documents would first have to be reordered. “With the end of a U-Committee, all files are history. They do not belong to Parliament and have to be destroyed or returned,” says a parliamentary spokesman.

Silence around the main character of the Ibiza affair – Strache finds no hold

Meanwhile, it has become quiet around the main character of the Ibiza video, the former FPÖ boss and ex-Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache. Attempts by the 51-year-old, who appeared prone to corruption in the film, to return to the big political stage have failed.

The trained dental technician will reappear in the headlines if his trial begins on suspicion of political trade. Strache is said to have brought about an advantageous change in the law for an operator of a private clinic and at the same time collected donations and used private flights. He denies that. (Dpa / Matthias Röder / mgb)


Mississippi abolishes controversial flag

foreign countries Racism Debate

Mississippi finally abolishes controversial flag

Mississippi Abolishes Confederate Flag

The flag of the US state Mississippi with the symbolism of the former slave-holding states is history. Republican Governor Tate Reeves signed a law to that effect.

Mississippi’s flag is history: the previous flag, valid since 1894, was a reminder of the former slave owners in the American south, the so-called Confederates. The Republican governor signed the law for a new flag.

Dhe flag of the US state Mississippi with the symbolism of the former slave-holding states is history. Governor Tate Reeves signed the abolition law on Tuesday. The aim of the measure is to “reconcile” the citizens of the southern state with one another, he said.

The Mississippi Parliament had passed the abolition of the flag two days earlier by a large majority. It was a reaction to the debate about how to deal with the historical legacy of racism and slavery, which has intensified since the death of the African American George Floyd in a brutal police operation.

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US state of Mississippi

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They should disappear: The statues of the southern generals Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens and Robert E. Lee (from left) are in the Capitol

Mississippi was the last remaining US state to officially use the symbolism of the Southern Confederation of the 19th century. The southern states fought in vain for the preservation of slavery in the civil war with the north from 1861 to 1865. The southern troops went into battle under the Confederate flag – a blue diagonal cross decorated with stars on a red background.

In the previous flag of Mississippi, the Confederate flag was integrated in the form of a square in the upper left corner. What the new flag of the state should look like is still unclear. A commission is to present a proposal for this by mid-September. The citizens of Mississippi will then vote on this proposal in a referendum parallel to the presidential election on November 3rd. Just under 40 percent of Mississippi’s citizens are African American.

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ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 04: Author Angie Thomas interviews with student journalists at 'The Hate U Give' Atlanta University Center press junket at Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Chapel on October 4, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for 20th Century Fox)