Crisis double interview – Maurer: ‘We have potential when it comes to energy savings’

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Gas crisis, climate crisis, corona crisis: from the autumn it is time to save, say green politicians Sigi Maurer and Judith Schwentner in a double interview. Why sexual harassment is not just a matter for the criminal code and why the Greens have not lost their confidence.

„Steirer crown“: Formula 1 in Spielberg was overshadowed by sexual harassment of women. Why do women still have to take this?
Sigi Maurer: They don’t have to put up with it. There are ways to litigate, there are complaints offices. But society doesn’t change overnight, of course.

Judith Schwenner: As a women’s councilor I have the project “Is Luisa there?” launched, so that you can go to someone in the nightlife and break the taboo. The problem is still minimized.

Shouldn’t criminal law be ruined too?
Maurer: There are ways to take legal action, such as insults and defamation. You cannot regulate everything in a society through criminal law. Creating awareness is important.

We have many times as many corona infections as a year ago, on Thursday there were 12,000. Why are we still not wearing a mask?
Maurer: The situation is different from a year ago. The ommicron variant is significantly milder. The situation in hospitals and intensive care units changes only very little. But the mask will definitely be back in the fall. We have to learn to live with Corona.

2In Styria, 84 hospital beds are currently blocked due to a lack of nursing staff. What do you plan to do about it?
Maurer: We just got through the biggest health care reform in years. As far as the Corona malfunctions are concerned, measures will be taken in the coming weeks.

WHow do you think the coal flow in Mellach should be reactivated, especially now that the Greens bear more responsibility than ever?
Schwenner: It doesn’t make us happy, but the situation demands it. Coal energy can only be used in extreme emergencies. We’ve warned about this before, but now we need to support it so people don’t freeze in the winter.

What will people in Austria face in the fall if there is no gas?
Maurer: Our emergency plan includes different measures depending on what happens. Is it a short or long break? When will this take place? What storage level do we have? An energy-saving campaign will of course be launched in the autumn. We have enormous potential there.

Will it be enough to ask people to turn down the heating?
Schwenner: One degree less means you can save six percent on heating. It’s not nothing if everyone does it. If you don’t walk around the house in a t-shirt but put on a sweater, you can save quite a bit. At the local level, the most important thing is to support those who cannot afford heating.

You recently presented the extension of the Southwest tram line, which will cost more than 100 million euros. Where will the money come from?
Schwenner: We are nearing completion of the 15A agreement between city and state and federal. This has consequences for the relief of the city center and the expansion of the 5 and 1 line. The southwest line would be the next package we want to talk about. We have already had preliminary discussions with Secretary Leonore Gewessler, but I want to close one before we start the next.

Will the federal government sponsor enough money to make the expansion of public transportation in the states a success?
Maurer: What Leonore Gewessler has caught up with is huge. Never before have we had so much money available for the expansion of public transport. The climate ticket is a great success and has exceeded all expectations.

As a result, many ÖBB trains have been overcrowded lately…
Maurer: In itself there are enough moves, it just needs to be better distributed. Honestly, I’m glad so many people want to take the train. It is a safe, reliable and very comfortable means of transport.

The KPÖ has still not distanced itself from its members who were in eastern Ukraine and have sympathy for Russia. Scandal after scandal follows in the ÖVP in the federal government. Are the Greens bowing to stay in power?
Schwenner: I would say that the Greens are very democratic. We compromise. I disagree with the fact that the KPÖ colleagues were in Luhansk and met dubious people there, but we distanced ourselves. It doesn’t endanger our work.

Maurer: The VP is already responsible for himself, just as the KPÖ is responsible for himself. It is our responsibility to do what we have been chosen to do. If you look at everything we’ve implemented – the party law, climate ticket, investments in climate protection – that’s what people expect from us. The ÖVP himself has to do with his past.

Some green mainstream voters see it differently.
Maurer
: We are stable in the polls. We have won every state election and have had our best results since being in federal government. We want and must achieve our goals to overcome the climate crisis.

Would you rather form a coalition with the SPÖ?
Maurer: We are in a democracy, majorities are what they are. But when I look at where the SPÖ in Vienna is heading, namely consistently towards the 1970s, concrete over everything, overturned bike paths, I wonder if the situation with an SPÖ would actually be easier to handle.

Source: Krone

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