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Kurt Bayer: Fighting for Economic Fairness

Kurt Bayer: Fighting for Economic Fairness

Economist Kurt Bayer is theoretically retired. A former senior economist with the Austrian Economics Research Institute (WIFO), head of economic policy for the Austrian Ministry of Finance and a director of the World Bank, he now has time to meet at Café Engländer on a weekday and talk about his work with Transparency International (TI), […]

After the Election

After the Election

The German saying “Man soll den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben” (“Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched”) proved true  once again on 29 September. Both Social Democrats (SPÖ) and Conservatives (ÖVP), while still victorious, had to face major losses. But unlike other EU countries, the Austrian coalition was not voted out. With […]

No Alarms & No Surprises

No Alarms &  No Surprises

If it weren’t for all the posters splashing the heads of party frontrunners around the city, few would notice that it’s election time in Austria. In the scorching heat of recent weeks, electoral campaigns have had a very slow start. On 29 September, voters will go to the polls and choose which party or parties […]

Letters to the Editor: Sept. 2013

Re: [House Editorial “Out of Golan in 30 Days”, TVR July/August 2013]   What political irresponsibility or unexplainable fears can possibly have forced the Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann (Chairman of the SPÖ) and Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger (head of the liberal-conservative ÖVP, who additionally acts as Minister of Foreign Affairs) to abandon within 48 hours […]

The Fifth Column: July 2013

The Fifth Column: July 2013

High Tide for Harel?  A chiaroscuro drama is unfolding behind the scenes of the Hundertwasser exhibition (Japan and the Avant-garde), just ended with a jolly champagne breakfast in the grounds of the Belvedere. It is now clear that the much-loved Austrian eccentric, known for his ascetic lifestyle, was in fact worth a fortune. Along with […]

Panda wars

Panda wars

The Chinese government has threatened to take back Yang Yang and Long Hui, the two pandas on loan from China at the Schönbrunn Zoo. The threat came in May as a response to Chancellor Faymann’s meeting with the Dalai Lama on Austrian soil last year. Due to China’s tense relationship with the exiled Tibetan leader, […]

EU fights tax evasion

EU fights tax evasion

Legal loopholes, tax dodges, and secretive banking practices in Austria and Luxembourg are costing the Eurozone approximately €1 trillion in lost tax revenue every year. Now EU leaders are pledging to crack down. The European Parliament issued a resolution on 21 May urging the EU to halve annual losses by 2020. Officials from across the […]

Reining in the Rents

Reining in the Rents

 Spring brought the first hints of electioneering ahead of September’s national vote with Austria’s governing coalition parties, the centre-right People’s Party (ÖVP) and centre-left Social Democrats (SPÖ), presenting diverging plans for “offensives” to tackle the country’s rocketing housing costs. An increase in the number of Austrian households by over a quarter million, a surge in […]

Austrians Keep Their Secrets

Austrians Keep Their Secrets

Changing banking laws is tricky, wherever it’s done. It affects nations, businesses and citizens – in fact, everything. In Austria, the last big change was made in 1996, when it was decided that Austrian savings accounts (Sparbücher) could no longer be anonymous. By 2000, it was literally impossible to open a savings account without showing […]

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