A quick and dirty synopsis of last month’s headlines in Vienna

Benefits for EU Citizens After Five Years

In the ORF Pressestunde (ORF Press Hour), the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration, Sebastian Kurz announced that he wants social welfare for EU citizens only to begin after 5 years of living in the country. In an interview with the Austrian daily Österreich, he stated that “there must be clear signs against the utopian idea of a social union. The EU is here for the big questions but must not interfere with social and health care systems.”

Need to know
At present, an EU citizen who works in Austria is eligible for social benefits shortly after starting work. Kurz wants them to “pay into the system before taking something out.”

Who it affects
EU citizens moving to Austria, EU citizens here for less than five years

What others said
“Shameful for a minister of European affairs.”
-Eva Glawischnig,Green Party

Austrian headlines
SPÖ Presse & Kommunikation

New Minister of Health and Women’s Affairs Appointed

On March 8 (International Women’s Day), Pamela Rendi-Wagner was confirmed by President Alexander Van der Bellen as the new Minister of Health and Women’s Affairs. The mother of two was appointed as the successor of Sabine Oberhauser, who succumbed to cancer on Feburary 23. A doctor and specialist in immunology, vaccination and tropical medicine, Rendi-Wagner only recently joined the SPÖ. She studied medicine in Vienna and London. She taught at the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Tel Aviv University before becoming Section Chief for Public Health and Medical Matters at the Ministry of Health in 2011.

Need to know
Pamela Rendi-Wagner takes over as the new Minister of Health and Women’s Affairs. Previously, she was a scientist at the Institute of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine at MedUni Vienna for many years.

Who it affects
Women and sick people

What Others Said
“(Rendi-Wagner) has managed to break the glass ceiling; she is a role model for many women and knows the challenges.”
-Chancellor Christian Kern

Kern Backs EU Ban on Turkish Campaigning

Turkey will hold a referendum on eight proposed constitutional amendments. Chancellor Kern spoke out in favor of banning Turkish campaigning targeting expats in the EU.  “A common European approach to preventing such political campaigning would make sense. So countries like Germany, where such events were cancelled, would not be pressured by Turkey,” Kern told the German weekly Welt am Sonntag. 

Need to know
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is putting his proposed constitutional amendments to a vote on April 16. European leaders, including Kern, agree that Turkey shouldn’t do political campaigning in the EU.

Who it affects
Turks and expat Turks

What others said
“There are 220,000 Austrians living in Germany but we didn’t start campaigning in Germany”
-President Alexander Van der Bellen

KAV Needs New Boss

The controversial general manager of the Wiener Krankenanstaltenverbunds (The Viennese Hospital Association, KAV) Udo Janßen has been let go. He’s being held responsible for ongoing delays concerning Vienna’s biggest construction site: the Krankenhaus Nord. He has been repeatedly criticised for his authoritarian leadership style.

Need to know
KAV chief Udo Janßen was dismissed after criticism and concerns about the upcoming club retreat and state party conference of the SPÖ.

Who it affects
Vienna’s health care community

What Others Said
“We need an experienced doctor from within the KAV.”
-Wolfgang Weismüller, physicians staff representative