Expensive business trips by Viennese representatives of the state parliament are targeted by the opposition: an SPÖ man ‘shone’ with a pilgrimage to Mecca and visits to construction sites as a works council member in Sarajevo and Doha. “Who pays for these private excursions, the city and the taxpayer?” asks the ÖVP now.
When someone travels, he has something to say – that is also the motto of the local state parliamentarians and municipal councils. In times of Corona, inflation and the like, a real “frequent flyer mood” must have emerged, especially among colleagues from the Social Democracy, the representatives of the ÖVP complain. The “Reds” made no less than 112 business trips in the period from 2020 to mid-June 2022. All other parties made only 20 by comparison.
The lists range from New York to Mödling or, in the case of SPÖ councilor Omar Al-Rawi, from the Arab Cities Conference in Mecca to a visit to the Doha Interreligious Conference in Qatar: “From 16 to 22 February 2020, Al- Rawi up Costs of the taxpayer in Makkah. There are also pictures of the Kaaba from the trip, and he announced that he would make a pilgrimage. During trips to Qatar and Bosnia, he also visited construction sites as a member of the Strabag works council. Who pays for these private excursions, the city and the taxpayer?” asked the ÖVP after a request to city councilor Jürgen Czernohorszky.
Because it is still unclear after the application how high the final total settlement will be, the cabinet is forced to act quickly: “The municipality must disclose the purpose of SPÖ’s business trips and the added value for the taxpayer”. spokeswoman Caroline Hungerländer.
Mecca or Rome?
When questioned by the “Krone”, Al-Rawi responded calmly. “The visits to Mecca and Sarajevo were an invitation and the extra night in Doha was taken over by Strabag as part of my works council work. The Umrah is comparable to a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica during a conference in Rome,’ says the busy SPÖ politician.