Vice Chancellor Werner Koegler talks about the “blue Putin brothers”, the construction industry and the coalition's plans for the future of the pension system.
Mr. Vice-Chancellor, other parties will celebrate political Ash Wednesday next week. You, who are well known for your talent, don't do that. And that too in an election year.
Werner Koegler: Our approach is different. I do not see such exaggeration and bans as a political mission. We already have a lot of excitement and beating each other up. We are here for creative work. Something they should understand is that some political forces in Catholic areas like Bavaria and Austria still shout louder in the beer tent on holidays like Ash Wednesday. These blue Putin brothers celebrate the festival all year long anyway. That's part of the problem.
Is that why you went to demos against right-wing extremism in Vienna and Graz?
Yes, because the liberal constitutional state is under attack, because we must defend our way of life, our prosperity and our democracy. The blue leader makes it clear that Orban is his role model. Hungary still lives mainly off billions in EU money. In addition, the FPÖ has sometimes behaved worse than the AfD, which has at least made some decisions. It was about the exile of the citizens in Potsdam because, to put it bluntly, they were fourth generation with no proof of Aryan status. This Mr. Zellner is the heralded pioneer of neo-Nazis and the FPÖ defends these neo-Nazis. What is thankful for right-wing extremists is that they openly celebrate their closeness to Orbán and Putin. If this is to be the future of Austria and Europe, I say good night. This is complete collapse.
But then, why are right-wing parties so popular?
Because where this will lead is not yet sufficiently stated: if the giggle goes through everything, urbanism will follow. Not since World War II have we experienced so many crises at once. The result was economic constraints and burdens. Last winter we were concerned about not having enough energy for companies and homes. It is a win for the government and the companies that have come forward that we have handled this well. But it was forgotten. The following still applies: Fear is a bad counselor. If you are exploited, you should raise your voice against it. But the mass is yet to be told. We can stop this growth.
“Mass not yet said” also applies to the legislative period. You are said to be working on a “mini-government project” with the ÖVP. What's coming?
One thing is to support the construction industry and the jobs there in particular and at the same time improve the environment and social housing. It is important to start projects quickly and signal them: property developers, cooperatives, construction industry, look, where the direction is going, it is up! Before we faced a major recession and a wave of layoffs for a year and a half.