Domestic Policy – Anti-Violence Actions: Mickle-Leitner sees government as a duty

In an APA interview, the ÖVP politician insisted on harsher punishments for those who did not want to integrate. For the National Council elections, Mikl-Leitner expects a showdown between ÖVP leader Karl Nehhammer and FPÖ leader Herbert Kikl. He advocates for a nationwide solution when it comes to payment cards for asylum seekers.

To combat disrespect and violence against girls and women, “we must start in schools,” Mikl-Leitner stressed: “The majority of normal-minded people should not be tyrannized by an irresponsible minority . . . That’s why it’s important to act quickly here.” The Green Party – coalition partners in the federal government – must recognize that “our society cannot afford to see this development any longer”.

ÖVP Lower Austria’s regional leader called for tougher penalties for families who don’t want reunification: “This should be a mandatory task for the next government.” “Compulsion” has not worked for years, so he is clear: “It won’t work without heavy penalties.” The fine limit should be increased from the current maximum of 440 euros to a maximum of 2,500 euros if parents breach the duty to cooperate, and benefits for those receiving social assistance should be reduced.The former interior minister also spoke in favor of lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 14 to twelve, pushed by the ÖVP.

According to Mikl-Leitner, the relationship with the Greens is “very strained” due to the actions of Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler. The head of department approved the EU-wide recovery law “at the expense of the states and municipalities” – “no one knows what the cost will be in the end”. The state governor said President Carl Nehammer did not end the coalition “out of state political responsibility” to avoid billions of dollars in election sugar as in the past.

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Mikl-Leitner sees Nehammer as “firm” ÖVP leader even after losing EU elections. In the end, contrary to the polls, the People’s Party came just behind the FPÖ. For the National Council elections on September 29, the state governor expects a contest between Nehammer and Kikkel: “The central question that the people must ask themselves is who do they want as president? It’s clear that Carl Nehammer is the best choice here.

As for possible alliances, Mikl-Leitner supports the position of the ÖVP leader, who rejected cooperation with Kickl and Gewessler, saying “everything else is open”. “It makes no sense to exclude entire parties from the outset”. Asked whether the ÖVP would again consider the Green Party as a coalition partner, the state governor said: “The style of ignoring the law is not very useful.” Either way, “a reliable partnership is unlikely” with Gweessler. On a possible collaboration between the three parties, the state leader said: “It is clear that the more parties are in alliance, the more difficult it is to govern.”

In the National Council election campaign, the ÖVP wants, among other things, people to have a “good life”. The People’s Party continues to oppose inheritance and property taxes. Mikl-Leitner also noted that childcare is an ÖVP focus to better combine family and work and enable freedom of choice. In addition, Austria should continue to push for the swift implementation of asylum procedures at the EU’s external borders.

Mikl-Leitner does not want to participate in the speculation about who will be the next Austrian EU commissioner: “Of course there is no need for shouting, that is the chancellor’s responsibility.” EU: “There is nothing better than working with passion and enthusiasm in Lower Austria.”

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Mikl-Leitner said after the differences between the federal states regarding the recovery law, “it’s important to reassert unity now,” with the aim of the conference of state governors. Under the presidency of Lower Austria, which ends this weekend, “a lot of progress has been made,” the state governor said, highlighting the unanimous decision for nationwide insurance coverage for informal voluntary work.

As far as the FPÖ is concerned, Mikl-Leitner makes a “clear distinction between the federal and state levels”: “The working agreement is being implemented and the cooperation with the FPÖ is working well.”

When it comes to payment cards for asylum seekers, Mikl-Leitner spoke in support of the solution across Austria. Benefits instead of money is a long standing demand. “When someone seeks protection, it does not matter to them whether they receive support in money or in kind. It is available to anyone who needs help and support. But if someone is just looking for money, they belong to a group that we don’t need to support and ultimately don’t want to support.” Postscript: “If someone leaves our country because they can’t get money, I really don’t have a problem with that.”

The refugee benefit card in Lower Austria has been tested since the beginning of June. 113 people have received eight shelters in six locations. Mikl-Leitner said the pilot project needs to be analyzed in detail, and we have to wait for the results of a working group between the interior ministry and the federal states.

After the funding pledges for the events of the clubs, led by the corona denier Martin Rutter, Mikl-Leitner said, “Each application is thoroughly examined by the specialized departments of the state, of course when it comes to money from the corona fund.” “Events where conspiracy theories are propagated will certainly not be paid for,” the state governor asserted. The country’s constitutional service has also assessed this in a report.

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(Editorial Notes: Photos of state governor Johanna Mickle-Leitner are available at APA NewsDesk and AOM.)

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