rt. The commitment to an independent Austria and the resistance to an ever more despotic EU centralism are gaining momentum.
In June 2015, a coalition of environmentalists and national minded groups, among others, the independent “Initiative Heim & Umwelt”, managed to get 261,056 signatories for an official, government-approved referendum. This was in fact hushed up completely by the media. This is a great success! 100,000 signatures would have been the statutory minimum. Then the EU exit referendum was negotiated in the Austrian National Council. As a referendum does not necessarily have to take place in Austria, even with 261,056 signatures, it is now up to the National Council alone to decide on the further procedure. In Switzerland, in comparison, mandatory national initiatives result from 100,000 signatures and referendums againstpassed laws result from 50,000 signatures. Already in the first hearing in the National Council, a large part of the national councils had difficulties. The promoters had to fight for every minute of speaking time for their experts (Prof Dr Heinrich Wohlmeyer and Prof Dr Karl Albrecht Schachtschneider) in a preparatory committee.
On the occasion of the debate on the EU exit referendum in the plenary of the National Council on 27 January, the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) surprisingly requested a referendum on the withdrawal from the EU. This may be a first very important step at the parliamentary level towards a withdrawal from the EU, as the Commissioner of the EU exit referendum, Inge Rauscher, noted in an APA-OTS press release. Under Austrian law a motion for a referendum requires that signatures are given with full address details in a municipal or city authority openly. If a referendum pro/contra EU withdrawal would be actually held then all votes are selected in a secret polling booth. Although results of referendums are not binding for a government, politicians cannot ignore the results.
The entire FPÖ voted for the motion to hold a referendum. “Team Stronach” and the three club free deputies joined the motion, totaling 47 deputies. On contrary, a majority consisting of SPÖ/ÖVP/Green/NEOS voted against a referendum. (This included even those MPs who spoke out before the elections and even in the debate on 27 January for direct democracy). The motion was rejected but the subject itself could now become interesting for future government coalitions.
Current Concerns spoke about the situation in Austria with Helmut Schramm, one of the representatives of the “EU exit referendum”.
Current Concerns: How do you assess the current development in the EU for Austria?
Helmut Schramm: As a supporter of direct democracy and compliance with the Austrian neutrality from 1955 I see the development of Austria with sadness. As before, the Austrians live in a “party state”, a “spectator democracy” that is far apart from the Swiss success model and ideal. The parliamentary discussion on the EU exit referendum – without real democratic debate – and the deployment of Austrian soldiers in NATO war areas such as Mali and participation in the EU economic sanctions against Russia prove this. The unemployment rate and the national debt are reaching new record heights. Wages have stagnated, the loss of purchasing power since Austria’s EU accession is noticeable for everybody.
At the EU level, these “pseudo-democracy” is even stronger: The Austrian MEPs have hardly any influence on the EU laws, in any case far too little: The European Parliament strengthens only the legislation in the EU, but is unable to implement laws. Although each state has one representative in the Commission, Council and European Council – they are very distant from the people, and thus have a remote indirect legitimacy. This was explained in detail by Prof Dr Karl Albrecht Schachtschneider in his expertise.
How do you assess the mood in the Austrian population?
Mass immigration causes a more negative attitude in the population towards a totally failing EU. The Schengen and Dublin agreements are not respected. The open frontiers and the invitation policy towards the so-called “refugees” cause great damage. The welfare state is suffering immensely, and the Austrian people are gradually replaced. This negative attitude towards the EU will be expressed by the people’s votes. Those parties still consider the EU a success and a peace project, they will have to fear for their votes. This is a chance for Austria.
Which options currently exist for leaving the EU?
Currently, the FPÖ is considered in all polls as the strongest party. In the case of government participation they could lay down in the Coalition Agreement with the partner or the partners a commitment to give the public the opportunity to participate in a referendum to leave the EU – as the British soon may have to decide. Then, no other party can prevent a referendum! But in any case, education and information needs to be continued at the base and independent of political parties with all possible efforts. Freedom has never ever been given as gift to any nation!
Thank you for the interview and good luck in your commitment, Mr Schramm. •
rt. The Austrians have never been quite happy with their accession to the European Union. In the year 1994 the Austrian voters agreed to the accession after an extensive pro-EU-campaign. According to estimates about one billion Austrian shillings had been spent on the pro-EU-campaign. Even sections of the leadership of the Austrian Catholic Church had been involved in order to promote an accession.
Six years later, in 2000, the country got a bold pretaste of the authoritarian style of the EU. Because the Austrians had dared to vote for a government not agreeable by the EU – namely, a coalition of FPÖ and ÖVP – the land was taken hostage and „boycotted“ on behalf of the rest of the EU.
Extreme leftists from Germany and France met in Austria to detect so-called rightists and to “boycott“ them. In autocratic style the EU finally appointed a “committee of wise men“, which were to render their verdict on the country. Of course, these “wise men” appointed by the EU were not wise and above all at no level democratically legitimated! But the political elite in Vienna, submissive to the EU, caved in.
Shortly after this boycott the Austrians then were to find out that they are no longer allowed to decide for themselves in their own country how much transit traffic they would allow to thunder over the Brenner pass. Their opposition went unheard in Brussels despite repeated complaints, particularly by the affected population in Tirol.
Also the Austrian population is one of those who do not like to eat genetically modified food, even if “allowed“ by Brussels. The Austrians had to grind out their right against the Brussels authorities. They braced themselves against the uninhibited use of GMO by means of a substantially accepted referendum, so that the EU bureaucracy retrograded, although it was strongly “lobbied by Monsanto“. (Now Brussels is trying to introduce GM food in a roundabout way.)
Even the country’s constitutionally guaranteed neutrality is suffering. 25 of the 28 EU member states are, as NATO members, heavily dominated in their foreign policy by this globally acting war organization. Especially the „big countries“ fulfill the commands from Washington without any questioning. Therefore Austria is increasingly coming under pressure to participate in questionable, warlike “peace missions“.
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