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‘Alarming’: Austria passes heavily criticised terrorism law

Austria's National Assembly on Wednesday adopted a heavily criticised anti-terror law that was formulated in the wake of a deadly jihadist terror attack and allows for increased surveillance.

'Alarming': Austria passes heavily criticised terrorism law
People lay candles after the Vienna attack. Photo: Omer Messinger / AFP

After a sympathiser of the Islamic State group (IS) group killed four people in central Vienna in November, the conservative party (OeVP) of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz pushed for new anti-terror laws.

Judges, rights groups and the opposition have criticised the legislation, passed on Wednesday for a measures in which released terror offenders would be monitored with electronic ankle bracelets.

Some have also criticised a new offence of “religiously motivated” crimes.

“Highlighting ‘religious motivation’ for crimes is unnecessary at best, but also worrisome from a fundamental rights point of view,” the president of the Austrian Judges’ Association, Sabine Matejka, told AFP Wednesday.

“It’s alarming that other motivations aren’t highlighted as well, like racism,” Matejka said.

Although the Justice Ministry did say the criticism would be “examined”, the law passed without further revisions.

The new legislation also regulates Islamic religious activity, in particular through a mandatory register of all imams, a measure criticised by representatives of the Muslim community and by church leaders.

The interior ministry was strongly criticised for having failed to monitor the Austrian gunman responsible for last November’s killings, even though they had been alerted to the danger.

The authorities knew he had been in contact with Islamist radicals from neighbouring countries, and that he had tried to buy ammunition in Slovakia.

Police finally cornered the gunman and shot him dead, ending his shooting spree in the capital.

The small nation of fewer than 9 million is home to one of the largest per capita rates of IS fighters in Europe, with about 150 individuals having returned there after either joining the Islamic State in Syria or Iraq, or attempting to.

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POLITICS

How much do Austrian politicians earn as a monthly salary?

Politicians in Austria are getting a 5.3 percent salary increase in 2023 as inflation rises in the country. So how much will they earn?

How much do Austrian politicians earn as a monthly salary?

The rising inflation rate, which is expected to be at 10.6 percent in November, is reflected in the salaries of politicians in Austria, according to the official gazette of the Wiener Zeitung.

According to Austrian law, all salaries are calculated based on the income of the members of the National Council, the Austrian Parliament. Next year, they will receive €9,873 gross per month – €497 more than their salaries in 2022. The values were rounded to the whole euro amount. 

READ ALSO: How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

So, how much are the leading politicians going to earn as a monthly gross salary in 2023?

  • Bundespräsident: the head of the Austrian State (Federal President) will earn €26,701 per month. Alexander Van der Bellen was reelected to the position and should stay in the job for six more years
  • Bundeskanzler: the head of the Austrian government (Chancellor) will earn €23,840 per month. That’s the salary of Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), who is expected to run for reelection in the next national elections set for 2024
  • Vizekanzler: the current vice-chancellor is Werner Kögler (Greens), and he is set to earn €20,979 from 2023
  • NR-Präsident: this refers to the leader of the National Council (Nationalrat, in German), who earns €20,026. Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP) holds the position
  • Landeshauptleute: this German word literally means “main persons of the province”. (Land means country, but it actually refers to the bundesländer, the country’s states or provinces). These are the current governors of the Austrian provinces, such as Michael Ludwig (SPÖ), mayor of the city-state of Vienna. They’ll earn €19,072 per month
  • Ministerin/Minister: Ministers of the federal government, including Health and Social Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens), will earn €19,072 every month
  • Landesrätin/-rat: the provincial councillors should earn €17,771 every month from 2023
  • Staatssekretärin/-sekretär: State secretaries, who play the part of Ministers in the provincial level, will earn €17,165
  • Bundesratsmitglieder: a “member of the Bundesrat”, which is the upper house in the Austrian parliament, will earn €4,936 per month

READ ALSO: Explained: How to understand your payslip in Austria

In Austria, hired employees are paid 14 times per year, with extra salaries ahead of summer holidays and Christmas.

Unless the National Council decides against the pay rise, the increase will come into effect on January 1st 2023.

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