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Hearing on referendums on Austria's neutrality

Hearing on referendums on Austria's neutrality

As part of an expert hearing, the State Defense Committee discussed the referendum, signed by 116,832 Austrians or 1.84% of those eligible to vote, calling for permanent neutrality of Austria. Therefore, Austria must once again announce that it will not join any military alliance “in the future” and will not allow foreign countries to establish military bases on its territory.

Initiators Anatolij Falk and Werner Bulick, who were present at the committee, appealed to the deputies to take the “people’s decision” seriously and not to “bury” neutrality like other referendums. Austrian people understand neutrality as they lived it before joining the European Union.

Constitutional lawyers Peter Boesiger and Markus Klamert, recognized as experts, spoke out against entrenching renewed and identical neutrality in the Constitution. Klamert says this makes no legal sense.

There was agreement among the representatives on the need to maintain neutrality. However, there were different opinions about its design. While the SPÖ, the Greens and NEOS spoke in favor of “further development” of Austria's neutrality policy in the sense of strengthening international cooperation, the FPÖ saw such efforts as endangering neutrality itself. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Claudia Tanner stressed that Austria's neutrality also required that the federal army be able to defend itself accordingly.

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