VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian conservative leader Sebastian Kurz has struck a coalition deal with the Greens to ensure his return to power and bring the left-wing party into government for the first time.
The parties say their main campaign pledges form the core of the deal: a hard line on immigration and security twinned with tax cuts and a balanced budget for Kurz’s People’s Party (OVP), greater government transparency and tax reforms to better price in carbon emissions for the Greens.
Here are the deal’s main measures:
IMMIGRATION, SECURITY AND FIGHT AGAINST “POLITICAL ISLAM”
– Banning girls from wearing headscarves in school up to aged 14, from around 10 now.
– Introduce preventive custody for “people for whom facts support the assumption that they pose a threat to public safety” but have yet to commit a crime: an idea put forward under Kurz’s previous coalition with the far right after a fatal stabbing apparently committed by an asylum seeker.
TAX CUTS AND BENEFITS
– Cut corporate tax rate to 21% from 25%.
– Reduce the tax rate for the first three income tax brackets, to 20%, 30% and 40% from 25%, 35% and 42%.
– Increase the annual tax break for families with children, to 1,750 euros ($1,956) per child per year from 1,500 euros.
– Make Austria climate neutral by 2040.
– Produce 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
– Reform existing tax on flights out of Austria, currently ranging from 3.50 euros per passenger for short-haul trips to 17.50 euros per passenger for long-haul, depending on the flight distance. A new flat rate of 12 euros will be introduced, a de facto increase.
– Work toward the most efficient economic instruments to establish “cost truth” for carbon emissions in sectors outside the emissions trading system by 2022.
– “Ecologise” the existing road toll for trucks by, for example, linking it more to the euro emissions class of the vehicle so that the most polluting vehicles cost more to drive.
– Set up a task force on the “ecologization” of the tax system to price climate-damaging emissions effectively and at the same time lower the burden on enterprises and people in certain sectors by 2022.
– Invest a billion euros in improving conditions of public transport, particularly expanding and improving services in and near urban areas.
– Invest a billion euros to ensure public transport is available nationwide, including rural areas.
– Support carbon tariffs at international and European levels.
– Abolish official secrecy as currently applied across the civil service and make freedom of information an enforceable right.
– Give the Court of Audit the power to examine political parties’ accounts.
– Require 40% of board members at state-controlled enterprises to be women as an example for the private sector.
Reporting by Francois Murphy and Kirsti Knolle in Vienna and Michael Shields in Zurich