Austria’s conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Green Party struck a coalition agreement on Wednesday, with Sebastian Kurz set to become the country’s chancellor again.
“It was possible to combine the best of both worlds,” Kurz said late Wednesday after meeting with Green leader Werner Kogler for a final round of coalition negotiations, the oe24 network reported. “It is possible to protect the climate and borders.” The negotiations, which took three months, were “challenging,” Kurz added, “but the result is a very good one.”
“On climate change we have possibly agreed on more than we could have imagined beforehand,” Kogler said. “Austria should become a European and international leader on climate change issues.”
The full details of the so-called turquoise-green coalition agreement are due to be announced Thursday afternoon. According to the oe24 network, the deal includes a plan to lift Austria’s headscarf ban to the age of 14 from 10 — a key ÖVP demand.
The ÖVP won Austria’s September election with 37.5 percent of the vote, with the Greens coming fourth on 13.9 percent, after Austria’s previous coalition government fell apart in May in the wake of the release of a bombshell video showing Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the ÖVP’s junior coalition partner the far-right Freedom Party, offering to trade public contracts for campaign support.
Under the new deal, the ÖVP is set to take charge of the home affairs and foreign ministries, with the current foreign minister and former Kurz adviser Alexander Schallenberg staying in office, according to local media. The finance ministry will also stay under the ÖVP’s purview, with Gernot Blümel moving to that portfolio from his old post as the EU, art, culture and media minister. The Greens will get a beefy environment and infrastructure ministry and will also be responsible for social affairs, with Kogler becoming vice chancellor.
The government deal still needs to be approved by Green delegates at a party congress this weekend. According to local media, it is expected to get the green light.