“What happened to the EU Withdrawal Referendum?” The answer to that question which was recently asked in the column “Freies Wort” by a reader of the newspaper “Krone” is the following: After the official result of 261,056 personal supporters of the withdrawal of the Republic of Austria from the EU was confirmed on 22 July 2015 by the Ministry of the Interior, the respective referendum was officially presented to the Austrian Parliament on 28 August for further consideration. The plenary debate of the National Council about that issue must take place on time by 17 February 2016 at the latest. The constitutional committee that has to prepare this debate, held the first content-related meeting only on 3 December, three months later after presentation in a form, which defies description in terms of democracy. From the ridiculous total duration of 90 minutes for such a comprehensive issue, a speaking time of 77 minutes was set for the parliamentary groups and their appointed experts. The representatives of the Referendum got exactly 13 minutes speaking time. We were unable to agree to this mockery and to this de facto incapacitation of over a quarter million very conscientious Austrian citizens. Therefore, we left this joke of referendum-consultation after the beginning of the meeting after presenting a 10-minute declaration of protest in the name of all representatives and members of the non-party personal committee. (Available live in Parliament on the Internet at: youtu.be/eK95ExzWifA). In this declaration we emphasized that of course we are available for a true expert hearing at any time, at which our appointed experts are able to explain the reasons for a withdrawal from the EU in sufficient speaking time. According to the latest polls of the IMAS-Institute, the withdrawal is wanted by already 45 per cent of the overall population, making the proponents of an EU withdrawal shortly after the referendum go hand with the prior opponents for the first time, which is also 45 per cent. The binding referendum for the government, as part of the referendum text, is therefore more than justified! A second committee meeting was arranged with the consultation of experts on the withdrawal from the EU to be held on 26 January. In the process, it will be revealed, whether the initiators of the referendum are able to present their arguments in a format, which makes a serious consideration possible for the representatives at all.
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