Secret deals with conservatives expose Austrian Greens

The Green party is currently facing backlash from party members for its lack of transparency and for deceiving the party base after side arrangements of the conservative-Green coalition agreement became public on Sunday (30 January).

The document includes controversial agreements on various issues – like a headscarf ban or the distribution of non-political positions – that were not mentioned in the official coalition agreement. Even the highest-ranking Green politicians were not informed about its contents.

“The behaviour of those who agreed on this with the ÖVP is completely out of the question,” Harald Walser, who co-negotiated the coalition agreement with the ÖVP, told VOL.at on Monday.

Not even informing the core group, the steering group of the coalition agreements – that lets my jaw drop, that is simply unbelievable,” Walser added.  

In a similar vein, Birgit Hebein, who belonged to the inner circles of the Green party during the coalition negotiation in 2020, heavily criticised the behaviour of the party leadership.

“The fact that substantive positions were negotiated via the side letter and neither presented to participants of the negotiating team nor to delegates of the federal congress is irritating,” she said on Twitter.

After the Greens and the conservative ÖVP finalised their coalition agreement in 2020, Green party leader and current vice-chancellor Werner Kogler presented the agreement at the party congress for formal approval – without mentioning the controversial bits that were negotiated in the side arrangements. Kogler admitted that only a few of the highest-ranking Greens knew about the side letter.

The Green party leadership is blaming the coalition partner for the leaks and believes that the inner circle of former chancellor Sebastian Kurz is responsible for leaking the sensitive document to the public.

(Oliver Noyan | EURACTIV.de)

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