• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Austrian army 'going broke'

Rosie Waites · 15 May 2014, 09:21

Published: 14 May 2014 09:57 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 May 2014 09:21 GMT+02:00

Defence Minister Gerald Klug (SPÖ) has said that with its current budget the army "is no longer financially viable". 

His staff have done an analysis of the army's current saving plan and found that by autumn it won't even be able to afford its fuel bill. 

The army has a total budget of €1.948 billion - and €1.3 billion of that goes on personnel costs.

This year it will have zero investment, which means that the army won't even be able to afford to replace a broken tent pole, according to a report in the Kurier newspaper.

A project to build new barracks in Melk has been scrapped. 

The army's Black Hawk helicopter fleet is also in danger. It's in need of an urgent update from manufacturer Sikorsky but this will cost between €50 million and €80 million. Otherwise, the helicopters will be night blind from 2018, and by 2020 they will no longer be able to fly.

The army has already dramatically reduced its vehicle fleet, and major repairs to Pinzgauer and Puch-G vehicles have been put on hold as the parts are too expensive. 

In Klagenfurt vehicles are so scarce that soldiers in the 7th Brigade are forced to walk everywhere - which has not been good for morale. 

The army is often deployed in Austria to deal with severe flooding - but initially only a fifth of its forces will be released, according to Kurier.

The rest of the troops will have to be deployed later because civilian buses will have to be rented to transport them to flood affected areas.

Defence Ministry spokesman Michael Bauer admitted that "the cuts are very painful, but there is no way around it."

Story continues below…

The army has urged politicians to make military service and careers in the military more attractive.

Military service is mandatory for all able-bodied Austrian men up until the age of 35 - for a period of six months. Conscientious objectors can join the civilian service (Zivildienst) for nine months. 

Women have been able to do military service voluntarily since 1998. 

Last year a referendum on conscription rejected a proposal to end military service. Although the referendum was non-binding, the governing coalition has pledged to honour the results. 

Rosie Waites (rosie.waites@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Police detonate WW2 bomb in Linz
Photo: Polizei

A 250 kilogramm bomb from World War Two was deliberately detonated on Tuesday after being discovered in Linz by two locals.

Calls to smoking helpline rocket in Austria
Photo: Ricardo Liberator/Creative Commons

New information printed on cigarette packets to deter people from smoking appears to be working in Austria.

Expats rank Austria as best country for healthcare
Wien Tourismus

Expats have ranked Austria as one of the best countries in Europe to live in according to a global survey of expat life.

Ghost of Austria's 'last monarch' still looms large
Franz Josef in 1905. Photo: Library of Congress

Even a century after his death, Austria's mutton-chop whiskered emperor Franz Joseph still looms large in the national consciousness.

'Sensational' mammoth tusks found near Vienna
Naturhistorisches Museum

Experts in Austria have excavated two giant mammoth tusks thought to be over a million years old under roadworks just north of Vienna.

Drug offences highest in Austria for a decade
LPD Wien

Austria saw a boom in drug offences last year with narcotics worth around €28 million seized by authorities.

Austrian commits robbery so he can 'start over' in prison
LPD Wien

An Austrian who robbed a fast food restaurant in Vienna told police he did it because he wanted to be jailed so he could have fresh start.

Expert predicts far-right to win Austrian election
Photo: Facebook/Norbert Hofer

Around 15% of Austrian swing voters are still undecided about who they will support in the presidential election re-run, although one expert predicts the far-right candidate will win.

Technical glitch causes chaos in Vienna airport
Photo: Twitter/Judith BK

Nearly 1,000 airline passengers were left stranded last night after a glitch in the IT system at Vienna airport caused huge delays to flights.

Cops nab accomplice in Austrian ‎€50m caper
Disgraced CEO Walter Stephan. Photo: Facebook/FACC

Police in Hong Kong have arrested an alleged accomplice who is believed to be involved in the scam which cost an Austrian aerospace company over 42 million euros.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Beware these passport scams
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Of course we skipped Oarsch
National
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel & Tourism
Yodel-ei-ei-eee--oh
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 years after her escape from captivity
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
National
Don't hesitate - break the window
Sport
Ready to watch some football? Here's how!
National
Cake rules
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Features
Refugees need practical help
2,536
jobs available