The Covid fund was approved in Lower Austria’s state parliament on Thursday with the votes of black and blue. SPÖ, Groenen and NEOS saw the support of 31.3 million euros as a “dowry” or “morning gift” from the People’s Party to the PVV and a “blank cheque”. For the time being, criticism has been expressed about the lack of guidelines and an unclear origin of the funds.
SPÖ club president Hannes Weninger described the Corona fund as “an extremely expensive ÖVP dowry for the FPÖ”, for which the Lower Austrian taxpayer, not the bride’s father, had to pay.
„Morning gift from the ÖVP to the FPÖ“
NEOS MP Helmut Hofer-Gruber and Green Club President Helga Krismer made similar statements, localizing a “morning gift from the ÖVP to the Freedom Party for this coalition to begin”. The pink mandatary Edith Kollermann spoke out in favor of the planned repayment of unconstitutional corona fines, but overall saw a “fund bursting with unclear, spongy wording and a lack of legal definitions” and an “opaque, very poorly made design”.
Kollermann stressed that the guidelines had to be submitted for approval. The details are yet to be worked out by the state government. In any case, Kollermann and Krismer agreed that a “blank check” would not be accepted. According to the Greens and NEOS, the question about the origin of the funds could not be answered in the committee responsible. “We reject this curious fund with the deepest conviction,” said SPÖ club boss Weninger.
FPÖ: “The heart of reconciliation”
FPÖ club president Reinhard Teufel referred to the intention to “close ditches” and described the support as “the heart of reconciliation”. The “Covid Aid Fund for Corona Consequences” is intended to support pandemic-related therapies and tutoring and clubs, among other things. The focus is on children, young people and families, emphasized FPÖ MP Richard Punz: “Today is the hour of justice and a piece of real change is being brought about in Lower Austria.” The purpose of the fund is to cover and mitigate damage, explained ÖVP MP Franz Dinhobl.
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