Austria’s Coalition Faces Uncertainty Over Afghan Question

Austria’s Coalition Faces Uncertainty Over Afghan Question

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has made a commitment: Austria will not accept any refugees from Afghanistan. For the Greens, Kurz’s coalition partner, it raises the question of how many concessions are acceptable to stay in government.

Kurz’s message was clear: “I do not believe that we should take in more people in Austria. On the contrary.”

In his opinion, the country has already made a disproportionately large contribution. “And I am clearly against the fact that we now voluntarily accept more people – that will not happen under my chancellorship.”

One of the largest Afghan communities already lives in Austria. Kurz thus recorded where his ÖVP stands when it comes to migration and asylum.

So far, the coalition partner remains relatively silent. The Green Party leader and Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler holds back on the question of accepting refugees. “I cannot promise you what will come because, as is well known, we do not govern alone,” said Kogler in a recent interview on Austrian television.

The fact that the Green Party leadership is giving in has, above all, to do with their own political projects, especially in the area of ​​the environment. The big question is how long this modus operandi can be maintained – especially if more such crisis were to occur, in which it becomes clear that the policy conducted by the coalition is pretty much contrary to what one has advocated so far – namely climate and the promotion of environmental protection.

Important political projects of the Greens include a climate protection law, which is supposed to reduce emissions, a CO2 tax and an affordable climate ticket for switching from the car to the train.

However, if there are no long-term successes, or if the coalition partner blocks these, there may be a small eruption and a more significant potential for conflict.

Kogler described the cooperation with the ÖVP very simply: In the end, the result has to be correct. However, it remains unclear at what price.

Image by UNIS Vienna (Flickr)/ Attribution Generic (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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