“I am not in favor of using the compulsory vaccination club in general,” said Kogler. After all, it is about an essential personal decision that affects one’s own body: “That must also apply to athletes.” The fact that a vaccinated recreational skier could then sit in the gondola with an unvaccinated ÖSV athlete can be explained by the Vice Chancellor, as is the more frequent case, from his point of view, that a guest in the pub has to be vaccinated, but the staff there does not.
This is justified by the freedom of employment and the goal that the companies have enough workers available. However, they are working flat out to turn the 3G rule into a 2.5G rule, at least to only allow PCR tests as evidence, says Kogler. In general, measures planned in the meantime are brought forward even before certain bars in the hospital occupancy are broken. When asked about lockdowns in individual federal states, he said: “We don’t want to conjure up ghosts, we want to act now as quickly as possible.”
Federal states responsible for vaccination
To criticize the poor vaccination progress in Austria, Kogler referred to the responsibility of the federal states for the processing. He named Upper Austria as a negative example. There, with the FPÖ, a political force is agitating that discredits the vaccination with false information and lies. “This nonsense has to be stopped once,” said the Vice Chancellor. He spoke of “health policy ghosting” and “political quackery” and criticized FPÖ boss Herbert Kickl: “That is dangerous to the public, what is tapped from the party chairman downwards.”
Kogler defended his approach to the government crisis triggered by the investigation against the ÖVP. As soon as he had read the house search order, it had become clear that the Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who subsequently resigned, was no longer able to act. It should be respected that the ÖVP – as requested by the Greens – an impeccable person was nominated for the Chancellery. Alexander Schallenberg has an “excellent basis of cooperation” and the government’s ability to act is important. Who is the ÖVP boss – even if an indictment is brought against Kurz – they have to decide for themselves. In any case, Kogler thinks it “makes sense” for the coalition to last until the end of the legislative period.
Kogler did not deny that there had been good contacts with the other parliamentary groups, after all, it was about things like the budget decision or key points of the tax reform. He also recalled the aim of clearing up the allegations, which would have got stuck in new elections. “But it was never about a coalition,” he assured, and in any case he had spoken “with no one” about a division of responsibilities.
When it came to climate protection, the Vice Chancellor was impatient. “Far too little has happened in Glasgow so far,” he said of the current World Climate Conference. In Austria there will soon be a new climate protection law, it is currently in coordination with the ÖVP. It is important, however, that there are more subsidies in this area than ever before and that the eco-social tax reform is now being assessed.
That the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Harald Mahrer, is pleased about the retention of the diesel privilege is “of course nonsense”. “Climate protectors can no longer be stupid, but new measures are being taken here step by step,” he promised. He agreed to the criticism of the environmentalists that the entry into CO2 pricing was too low, but at least the system was coming, and with a reliable price increase. However, social compatibility and political feasibility must be taken into account.