The first plenary session of the newly elected European Parliament took place in Strasbourg from 2nd to 4th July. AK EUROPA provides an overview of the Austrian MEPs and their range of subjects.
Austrian People's Party - ÖVP
In Austria, the ÖVP came out on top in the EU elections and as a result has seven MEPs, two more than in the last legislative period. With Othmar Karas, who has been an MEP since 1999, the ÖVP has an experienced MEP in Parliament, who also has been elected as Vice President of the Parliament. Apart from this, he will be represented in the Committees on Economic on Monetary Affairs as well as on Industry, Research and Energy. Othmar Karas has also been named as a possible candidate for Austrian Commissioner and successor of Johannes Hahn. Karoline Edtstadler is a new MEP. The jurist and former state secretary in the Ministry of the Interior will above all deal with issues of the Justice Committee, human and citizens’ rights and constitutional issues. In addition, she shall take over Othmar Karas’ role as head of the ÖVP-Delegation in the European Parliament. The Upper Austrian and Vice President of the European Economic Association Angelika Winzig changes from National Parlament to European Parliament, where she will deal with both EU budget and budget control as well as with international trade policy. Also a new MEP is the Styrian Simone Schmiedtbauer. In Brussels and Strasbourg, the farmer will be responsible for agricultural policy issues as well as for regional policy. Lukas Mandl has been an MEP since November 2017; in the new legislative period he will be concerned with European foreign, security and defence policy as well as development issues. The sixth ÖVP MEP is the Tyrolian Barbara Thaler, Vice President of the Economic Chamber of Tyrol. She will be represented in the Committee on Transport and Tourism as well as in the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection. Besides Simone Schmiedtbauer, there will be another farmer with ÖVP Ticket entering the European Parliament: Alexander Bernhuber comes from Lower Austria and will be active in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety as well as in the Committee on Culture and Education.
Social Democratic Party of Austria - SPÖ
As the second strongest force, the SPÖ has been able to retain its five mandates. The new head of the SPÖ delegation in the European Parliament is Andreas Schieder, who wants to push forward a progressive and social Europe in the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection. He is a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and regards Europa as a humanitarian global force, which stands for peace and cohesion. The deputy head of the delegation is Evelyn Regner, who has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2009. She wants to continue her fight for women’s rights and gender equality and work on behalf of a social Europe in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. One of her other thematic priorities is tax justice with a particular focus on transparent and fair business taxation. New in the European Parliament is the Lower Austrian Günther Sidl, who as member of the Committee on the Environment wants in particular to focus on the fight against climate change. In doing so, he supports energy revolution as well as sustainable agriculture and healthy food without Glyphosate. The former President of the Regional Parliament of Styria Bettina Vollath is a jurist and will work for fundamental and human rights as well as for more democracy and rule of law at European level. The fourth new addition in the SPÖ delegation is the Upper Austrian mayor Hannes Heide, who will be responsible for budget control in the European Parliament. Apart from that he wants to use his time in the Committee on Culture and Education to promote cultural diversity and training opportunities for young people and ensure a greater EU presence in rural regions in the Regional Committee.
Austrian Freedom Party - FPÖ
The FPÖ has lost three seats at the EU elections and therefore has three MEPs in Parliament: Harald Vilimsky and Georg Mayer enter Parliament for the second time and will deal with issues relating to foreign policy and justice and, industry, research, energy respectively as well as transport and tourism. Due to Heinz-Christian Strache and Petra Steger relinquishing their mandates, the Upper Austrian business consultant Roman Haider of the National Council will enter the European Parliament and will in future be responsible for international trade, foreign affairs as well as transport and tourism.
Due the Greens leading candidate Werner Kogler not accepting his EU mandate, Monika Vana will remain an MEP. As head of the delegation of the Austrian Greens, she will use her second term to deal with regional policy, budget issues and women’s policy. The second Green MEP is Sarah Wiener. In the European Parliament, she will devote her term to agricultural policy issues as well as to issues relating to Internal Market and Consumer Protection. In the case of Brexit, the Greens would get a third mandate, for which the former MEP Thomas Waitz is eligible.
The New Austria and Liberal Forum - NEOS
For NEOS, Claudia Gamon, former Member of the National Parliament enters the European Parliament. Being a native of Vorarlberg, she will be represented in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy as well as in the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.