The first National Council meeting took place on Wednesday in the renovated building on the Ring. Government and opposition are also enthusiastic about the new house – but unkindness continues to be exchanged in the usual way. “We have a nice house, but the atmosphere cannot keep up,” SPÖ MP Robert Laimer summarized the debate.
Parliament’s attic is teeming with them. The three new bars are well stocked, the concept of an “open house to the people” works. MPs, visitors, employees and journalists mingle. The atmosphere is busy and cozy at the same time. Remodeling is an important theme.
Journalists can now hear MEPs much better
Much has been achieved, the technical equipment is state-of-the-art, the acoustics in the plenary hall are excellent. On the journalists’ balcony you can now hear and recognize the shuffling of the deputy sheriffs much better, which was practically impossible in the temporary accommodation in the Hofburg. But there is also dissatisfaction. Only places on the outer edges of the balcony are provided for the TV cameras. This means that MPs can only be filmed from the side. This is unacceptable to the cameramen. They are forced to extend their cable and sit in the disabled seats in the middle.
Many visitors who were familiar with the old building do not immediately find their way in the new stairwells and have to complete a few empty laps before reaching their destination.
“Krone” visitors are enthusiastic about the renovation
The Hendschläger family from Upper Austria has lunch in restaurant Kelsen. The couple read in the “Krone” that the first session of the National Council will take place on Wednesday in the newly renovated Parliament and spontaneously decided to visit the House. All visitors surveyed by “Krone” are enthusiastic about the conversion.
Two floors down, the atmosphere is rather underground. “We have a nice house, but the atmosphere cannot keep up,” SPÖ MP Robert Laimer summarized the debate. In the government bench, which was lowered to the level of MPs during the changeover, the perception is apparently similar to the opposite sign. “It’s a nice environment,” said Leonore Gewessler, Minister of Climate Protection, diplomatically describing her impression of the first meeting. She quickly gets to her main topic and praises the particularly climate-friendly transition.
New house already visited by tens of thousands of people
NEOS Club President Beate Meinl-Reisinger is also excited about the new home and impressed that tens of thousands of people flocked to Parliament in its first few days to see it in its new splendour.
The actual subject of the special session at the request of the SPÖ is inflation. Various anti-inflation measures such as freezing rents, exempting basic foodstuffs from VAT or suspending the CO2 tax are requested in an “urgent application”. 175 of the 183 representatives did not miss the return, but the style of the debates remained unchanged. The first speech of SPÖ vice-club boss Jörg Leichtfried was marked by attacks, among other things he was annoyed that, despite all the promises of improvement, the request for an extension of the electricity cost brake had only reached the parliamentary groups a few hours before the plenary session .
Deputy NEOS club president Gerald Loacker even spoke of “Hudriwudrihuschpfusch”. Groenclub chairman Sigrid Maurer expressed a few words of regret about this.
“When I’m in the coffee house, I always read the ‘Krone'”
The Keim family from Bavaria does not follow the debate. The couple is relaxing on a couch in Café Agora at the visitor center one floor below. The man holds the “crown” in his hand. “When I’m in the coffee house, I always read the ‘Krone’. You’re always up to date,” he says.