Austria. Politically, Austria has long been associated
with, above all, a name: Jörg Haider, head of government in
the state of Carinthia and former party leader of the
right-wing populist FPÖ. So it was during this year.
In January, together with the conservative newspaper
Kronen Zeitung, the FPÖ managed to gather over 900,000 votes
for a referendum aimed at the Czech nuclear power station
Temelin, and by extension towards the EU's enlargement to
the east. This was not enough to bring about a referendum,
but for Haider, it was enough that, despite not being in the
government but only being "an ordinary member" of the FPÖ,
he is threatening new elections. So far it did not go this
time. The issue of the subject prompted Czech Prime Minister
Miloš Zeman to criticize Haider, with an unusual choice of
words in this context ("a populist pronazist politician who
understands nothing but talks about everything").
In February, Haider traveled to Iraq to save world peace.
In Baghdad, he met Saddam Hussein to give him "greetings
from the Austrian people". Chancellor Schüssel characterized
Haider's journey as "unnecessary".
Countryaah website, the next time Haider talked about himself was in
mid-August. After very severe floods in Austria, Germany and
the Czech Republic - in Austria, the costs were estimated at
€ 7.5 billion (later figures said 2.9) - FPÖ decided to
postpone a previously decided tax reform with reference to
the high costs. This led Haider to go to the roof ("Due to
some rain..."). After various manipulations of common Haider
incisions, such as As a result, most of FPÖ's ministers in
the government saw themselves forced to resign, Wolfgang
Schüssel announced in September a new election to be held on
The November election ended with FPÖ losing 16.9
percentage points. The Green Party went ahead by 2.1
percentage points, the Social Democrats (SPÖ) won 3.3
percentage points, while the conservative ÖVP with Wolfgang
Schüssel in the lead made a record choice with plus 15.4
percentage points; the largest electoral success in the
country's post-war history.
With 42.3% of the Austrian people behind him, Wolfgang
Schüssel certainly remained, but by the end of the year he
had not yet managed to find a suitable coalition partner.
FPÖ wanted to continue to reign, but after three turbulent
years in the government may have burnt their cards. The SPÖ
appeared to be retiring to re-enter a coalition with the ÖVP
- both parties have ruled Austria for almost the entire
post-war period in different constellations - and the Greens
said they have no environmental political confidence in the
The year began with Austria moving to the euro as one of
twelve EU countries. The year ended with Austria supporting
the EU's enlargement with ten countries, but at the
Copenhagen summit in December, the government threatened
Schüssel not to sign the agreement in April 2003 unless
security is improved at the Temelin nuclear power plant, the
same nuclear power plant as the first of the year. great
political strife continued in Austria.