The SPÖ, FPÖ and NEOS presented a list of summons for the “small U committee” and did not rule out a parliamentary Covid U committee.
The opposition parties SPÖ, FPÖ and NEOS see the case of the FFP2 mask production by Hygiene Austria only as the “tip of the iceberg” of dubious procurements by the turquoise-green federal government in connection with the corona pandemic. Therefore, they want to examine these processes in the so-called “small committee of inquiry”. If that is not enough, none of the three groups did not rule out a parliamentary Covid-U committee.
On Tuesday, the three parliamentary groups presented their summons to the “small committee of inquiry”, actually: the “permanent subcommittee of the Court of Auditors”. He should actually meet in the afternoon with Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) as the person providing information for his first meeting. Anschober had to cancel because he was ill, as it became known in the morning. The opposition parties complained that they were not officially informed of this by Tuesday morning.
As SPÖ parliamentary group leader Karin Greiner promised, “at least ten to 15 more appointments would be necessary” if things continue to develop “in this dynamic”. Because the processes around the Hygiene Austria are only the “tip of the iceberg”. Therefore one has to ensure transparency. A number of parliamentary questions, which should have shed light on the darkness, remained more or less unanswered. In any case, it is noticeable that companies that were “close” to ÖVP Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz were often involved in procurement processes.
NEOS parliamentary group leader Douglas Hoyos also said that the federal government’s “bankruptcies, bad luck and breakdowns series” in the corona crisis had meanwhile expanded into a “tangible scandal”. “We have known the Hygiene Austria cause better since last week,” said Hoyos, but actually this was “foreseeable”, he says, referring to the establishment of the company “one day before the lockdown” in March of last year. Of course, this raises the question of “political insider knowledge”. It is also interesting that precisely with the “Palmers side” that side of the company is “not necessarily” interested in clarification, which is close to the ÖVP through personal links. But Anschober is also responsible for the quality control of the FFP2 masks of Hygiene Austria.
For FPÖ MP Wolfgang Zanger, it is a matter of scrutinizing the “corruption party ÖVP”. Because apparently the virus served as a basis for many with a closeness to the People’s Party “to do business in their own pockets”. However, Zanger pointed out that the possibilities of the “small committee of inquiry” were limited. For example, there are no minority rights, no truthfulness and the end of it will be fixed in June. “So you need a real U-Committee,” demanded Zanger.
The other two were not entirely averse to this demand, but both Greiner and Hoyos pointed out that the “small U-Committee” should do the preparatory work first. In addition, the pandemic is still ongoing. Of course, all parliamentary means will be used to ensure transparency: “If you look at the current government, then we could probably – feel – set up a committee of inquiry every week,” said Hoyos.
The cargo list presented on Tuesday includes the responsible ministers and representatives of the Federal Procurement Company (BBG) as well as general secretaries and section heads of the responsible ministries. In addition, the parliamentary groups also want to hear the special representative in the Ministry of Health, Clemens Martin Auer, the head of the Corona crisis team, Gerald Schimpf, the Federal Rescue Commanders of the Red Cross, Gerald Foitik and Gerald Fleischmann as those responsible for advertisements and public relations in the Federal Chancellery.