Wednesday, 17. September 2014
16. 03. 14. - 09:00
Austria's coalition government is under fire over its management of a banking crisis in which it agreed to nationalise the Hypo Alpe Adria bank in a move that has saddled the country with an estimated 18 billion euros in debt.
The Carinthian Hypo Alpe Adria was a bank that had expanded too quickly with heavy investments in particular in the Balkans where its activities were backed by Austrian local government guarantees. At the time Carinthia was ruled by the now deceased far right Freedom party leader Jörg Haider, who in exchange for guaranteeing the bank used it like his own personal piggy bank to fund voter winning ideas.
But before the banks serious problems became apparent Haider had managed to sell it to a German bank owned by the Bavarian government and he famously told people in his southern Austrian province: "Now we are rich."
Yet in a move not yet properly explained Austria's coalition government of the left-leaning social Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the conservative People's party the ÖVP decided to buy the bank back for a nominal fee of one euro, freeing the German bank and the German regional government from the eventual disaster that the bank was to become.
The Hypo disaster has been a stick that the government has used to criticise the far right Freedom party of the FPÖ, at least until recently where the scale of the debt has become apparent, and Austrians are now asking exactly why it was that Austria had bought the bank back? Voters are also reportedly fed up at the way each new day seems to bring fresh revelations about government mismanagement of the project of people increasingly asking why is it even now so many years later that there is still no solution.
The matter was brought into sharp focus with the decision by Haider's daughter Ulrika to enter politics as a candidate for her fathers breakaway political party the BZÖ in the upcoming European Parliamentary election.
She said: "The reality is that my father sold the bank at a profit to the Austrian taxpayer. The question is, why did the Austrian government then buy it back?"
The question seems to be one that voters are asking themselves. The ÖVP is already lying at a 20% voter share with the SPÖ at between 23 and 25%.
The far right Freedom party of Heinz Christian Strache in contrast is estimated at being between 25 and 27%.
The Green party that for too long has been seen as uncritical of the social Democrats with many local coalitions in operation has also suffered as a result losing ground against the new liberal NEOS with the two parties now battling it out for fourth and fifth place.
Viennese Jihad Girl May Have Been Killed
Austrian police say that one of the two attractive young teenage girls who fled the country to go to Syria to fight on the side of Islamic rebels may have been killed.
Perversion of a Medical Dream
The Decline and Fall of the Otto Wagner Hospital, Vienna.
Fat Can Be Used To Burn Off Weight After New Patent Unveiled
It is being hailed as a sensation after scientists at an Austrian university patented a method that transforms fat storing cells into mini factories capable of actually destroying fat by burning it off.
Three Family Members Dead In Well Tragedy
A mother has lost her husband, her pregnant daughter and her son-in-law after a tragic accident where one of them fell into a well and the other two died while trying to carry out a failed rescue.
Brit Soldier Rescued After Climbing Mountain In T Shirt
A British soldier who tackled the frozen Austrian Alps wearing just shorts and a T-shirt has been rapped by officials after he had to be rescued from the snowy peak.
Mum And Daughter Struck By Lightning In Pool
A mother and her daughter were hospitalised after they were struck by lightning ľ in a swimming pool.
Police Nab Porn Star Who Filmed In Local Church
A woman accused of making a porn movie in a local church has been caught after an informant tipped off police that he recognised her by her breasts after an appeal for information.
Young Hip Hop Dancer Gets 18 Years For Drug Smuggling
A blonde hip hop dancer and charity worker promised an international career after she was spotted by a talent scout has been jailed for 18 years in Indonesia after her work offer turned out to have been part of an elaborate drugs con.
Teen Dying Of Cancer Killed At Charity Event After Ride In Porsche Goes Wrong
The family of a sick boy who was offered a trip in a high-performance Porsche because he was dying of cancer is suing the charity after the Porsche he was travelling in crashed head-on into oncoming traffic.
Japanese Pervert Planned Natascha Kampusch Style Kidnap
A Japanese man inspired by Austrian pervert Wolfgang Priklopil kidnapped a 10-year-old girl and kept her in a purpose-built cellar where he planned to train her to become the perfect wife.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Boy Five Had Eyes Gouged Out by Satanists|
|Freaked-out Mushroom Pickers Discover Bag-loads of Amputated Limbs in the Woods|
|Sex Pest Simulator Developed For Japanese Gropers|
|Argentinian Cops Fake Car Accident|
|Pair Caught in Early Morning Underground Sex Video|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.