Filling posts – government defends agreements in side letter

Both Greens boss Werner Kogler and ÖVP club chairman August Wöginger defended the so-called side letter to the coalition agreement on Saturday, in which personnel decisions were also agreed in detail. Kogler said an agreement was necessary so that the ÖVP did not “occupy all positions”. Wöginger described the procedure as “usual and legitimate”. Criticism came from the opposition.

“We were new to the government, but not naive. If you want to prevent the Turkish ÖVP from occupying all positions, you need an agreement as a smaller coalition partner on how to proceed,” Kogler explained in a statement to the APA. “I never hid that and I think it’s important and necessary. It’s our responsibility to be elected and to make the necessary personnel decisions,” emphasized the Vice Chancellor. “It’s also about control in the sense of the public owner. Not one person can and should have everything under control.”

Kogler explained the agreement: For appointments that must be made by the government by law and are subject to the Council of Ministers, the right to propose alternates, depending on the institution. For federal holdings, a right to propose a third of the supervisory board positions applies to those parties that do not provide the responsible minister themselves. The background for this regulation is the principle of mutual control. This means that for the holdings for which the finance minister is responsible, a third of the supervisory board members will be proposed by the Greens. Conversely, for the investments that are the responsibility of the climate minister, one third of the supervisory board members are proposed by the ÖVP. Kogler clarifies that there are no agreements on appointments to the board of directors of stock corporations.

Wöginger: “Artificial excitement”

In a broadcast, Wöginger spoke of an “artificial excitement” that was “completely unrealistic”. Agreements between coalition partners are “a common and legitimate procedure and absolutely essential for successful cooperation between government parties,” emphasizes the ÖVP club chairman. Previous governments have also made such agreements.

NEOS Secretary General Douglas Hoyos, on the other hand, sees “deeply ungustative power thinking” and “the exact opposite of clean and decent politics” in the side letters. Hoyos spoke of “Postenschacher in pure culture. Austria suffers badly from the disease of corruption.”

With the “Siedletter”, the ÖVP and the Greens agreed on sensitive personnel issues in advance when the coalition was concluded. Among other things, the coalition partners state that the ÖVP may nominate the President of the Administrative Court if the job is vacant. According to the paper, it would be the turn of the Greens for the Vice President. The division described in the “Sideletter” has already been completed at the Constitutional Court: Christoph Grabenwarter is noted there as President, the right to nominate the Vice-Chairman lay with the Greens.

Also EU Ro damage specified

Turquoise and Green have already determined that the ÖVP may select the EU Commissioner in 2024, and that the Greens should be given preference when they move to the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights in 2023. It has also already been agreed that the ÖVP will be the president of the General Council of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank and the Greens the vice-president. The two board members of the Financial Market Authority share turquoise and green.

But not only the current turquoise-green government, but also the former turquoise-blue coalition had such a side agreement, which also included personnel agreements. At that time, too, it was about important positions in the judiciary, such as at the Constitutional and Administrative Court. And the ÖBAG and the FMA were already part of the agreements at the time, as was the ORF. (apa)

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