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Yearbook 2001

Austria. In February, a year had passed since the newly-appointed government was quarantined by the EU. It was dissolved in a fog cloud in October, and after a year in government, the coalition between the Conservative People's Party VP and the right-wing populist FP could see the future with some confidence.

2001 Austria

After the first year in power, the government, under the leadership of the VP's Wolfgang Schssel, was able to reap praise for political renewal, while the FP's previously so successful leader Jrg Haider worked frantically without much political success to get back into the limelight. But both Haider and the new leaders in the party he made with such success to the country's second largest in the 1999 election increasingly realized that for FP there was only one thing to do if the party did not strongly decline in the opinion polls: stay in the government and contribute to the success of the blue-black coalition.

In March, this was even clearer if possible. At the local elections that were held in Vienna, FP went back big. According to Countryaah, the party lost a quarter of its voters. Instead, for the Social Democrats (SP), the election went so well that the party gained its own majority in the capital. It was interpreted as a powerful popular protest against the blue-black Austrian government. Instead, the government chose to officially interpret the election result as a local matter for Vienna.

During the year, the government continued the privatization previously initiated. The telecommunications sector was exposed to competition and the gas and electricity markets were opened to competition before other EU countries.

At the end of the summer, FP's profile issues received a proposal for a severely limited immigration to the country. The party also learned that the country should wait until 2007 before a possible eastward enlargement of the EU will have an impact on the free movement of labor.

Perhaps the most important issue for the future during the year was the crucial social partnership, ie Austrian political life. that the country's economic policy was, in practice, determined by the Austrian LO, the employers, the Chamber of Commerce and the farmers' union, got such a serious thorn that it can be difficult to restore it in the future.

At the end of the year, Jrg Haider obtained a referendum in the country to be held in early 2002 for or against the demand that the Czech nuclear power plant in Temelin be closed. If it became a success for Haider, it would probably push Austria towards a new isolation within the EU, something the FP has long strived for.

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