The Minister of Health has concerns about the approval of the living room tests. Here the ÖVP is now forming an alliance with the SPÖ and Neos against Rudolf Anschober. Aren’t you wrong?
That is not right. Without the technical approval of the Ministry of Health, this is not possible anyway. The tests are about medical devices. The goal was the same: test more. There is always a good compromise between the coalition partners, but also with the opposition.
The virological quartet is history. You appear in Team B at the press conferences. Why?
I think we had enough gigs in that format. Rudi Anschober and I wanted to involve more and more external experts and social partners. The Minister of Health has been providing information almost every day for months together with experts. That Hermann Schützenhöfer and Michael Ludwig shared responsibility for these tough measures is good and deserves respect. It was the right signal to demonstrate the breadth of this decision. On Sunday I concentrated on economic aid and aid for NGOs, culture and sport. That’s at least as important – at least to me. It’s about existences.
Shouldn’t this have been done in autumn?
To be honest, I am glad that the polarization and personal upheavals of the Vienna election campaign have finally subsided. Here one could clearly see that there was a sharp opposition between Kurz / Nehammer and Ludwig / Hacker. It’s much better how it’s going now.
Did Sebastian Kurz learn from his mistakes?
Learning and development is always good and never stops. In any case, I have seen a number of positive developments in the last few days.
With the appointment of Martin Kocher as Minister of Labor, Sebastian Kurz changed his personnel selection. Instead of trusting people, he relies on an expert. Did the choice surprise you?
I was delighted, because Martin Kocher was already there in the spring at many consultations for the rescue measures. Kocher has a lot of expertise in the field of labor market policy. That’s great. We are already talking about the labor foundations, which are endowed with 700 million euros. The retraining in the areas of eco-jobs and the important future area of care are the job engine out of the crisis.
You are currently also Minister of Justice. There is a complaint against section head Christian Pilnacek and Johann Fuchs, the head of the public prosecutor’s office. The opposition accuses the two cover-ups around the Ibiza video and calls for a suspension. You have been silent until now. Why?
Because the judiciary should be able to work independently and well. Gone are the days when a Justice Minister simply drove into the prosecution’s investigations. It was arranged that the points that Pilnacek and Fuchs are accused of are examined by the Innsbruck public prosecutor. Now a corresponding project report is in the house. Two advocates general, who were consulted externally, will examine the report independently. Then the whole thing will go to the Board of Directors. The claim that people are looking the other way is not only wrong, the opposite is true. The judiciary is independent and it works well.
And the suspension?
To be honest, one should now wait for the test results from the responsible authorities. One thing is clear, however: transparency and correct delivery of files to the committee of inquiry are a matter of course.
An approach taken by the Business and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office has caused a stir. The WKStA filed a complaint against a “press” journalist for defamation, defamation and insulting an authority because the WKStA disapproved of a critical article. In the industry, this is seen as an attempt to intimidate a journalist …
Freedom of the press is not only a valuable asset, it is a fundamental principle of our democratic order. As is the case with the independent judiciary. In this case a red line has been crossed. The Business and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office recognized this and made it clear on its own initiative that they could understand the lack of understanding about the chosen approach. The matter is also closed because the Vienna Public Prosecutor’s Office did not even establish an initial suspicion and therefore did not initiate an investigation.
When the WKStA is sent out, you don’t notice anything of insight …
The WKStA made it clear on its own initiative that the report was not an adequate means and it will not be repeated.