January 7, 2020 / 5:30 PM / 17 days ago

Factbox: Highlights of Austrian conservative-Greens coalition deal

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian conservative Sebastian Kurz’s coalition cabinet with the Greens was sworn in on Tuesday.

Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen, Chancellor and head of the People's Party (OeVP) Sebastian Kurz and Vice Chancellor and head of the Green Party Werner Kogler pose with newly appointed ministers during the swearing-in ceremony of the new government in Vienna, Austria January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Both parties say their main campaign pledges form the core of the deal: a hard line on immigration and security twinned with tax cuts and a balanced budget for Kurz’s party, greater government transparency and tax reforms to better price in carbon emissions for the Greens.

Here are the deal’s main measures:

IMMIGRATION, SECURITY AND FIGHT AGAINST “POLITICAL ISLAM”

- Banning girls from 14 and under from wearing headscarves in school, up from around the age of 10 now.

- Introduce preventive custody for “people for whom facts support the assumption that they pose a threat to public safety” but have yet to commit a crime: an idea put forward under Kurz’s previous coalition with the far right after a fatal stabbing apparently committed by an asylum seeker.

- Ensure people rescued on the high seas are returned to countries outside the EU. Protect Austria’s borders if the EU’s external border protection is not working completely.

- Take measures to prevent people denied asylum from disappearing, with the option of moving them to repatriation centres.

- In the event of “unforeseen challenges” in migration and asylum or a failure to implement agreed policies in a timely manner, if both parties’ leaders cannot agree on a way forward, either side can submit a bill on the issue to parliament.

TAX AND FINANCE

- Cut corporate tax rate to 21% from 25%.

- Reduce the tax rate for the first three income tax brackets, to 20%, 30% and 40% from 25%, 35% and 42%.

- Increase the annual tax break for families with children, to 1,750 euros ($1,950) per child per year from 1,500 euros.

- Reform the EU banking union. A deposit insurance scheme should not lead to disciplined banks assuming liability for banks with large losses.

- Push for a digital tax on tech giants at international or European level (Austria already has one in place).

ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES

- Make Austria climate neutral by 2040.

- Produce 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

- Aim to equip 1 million roofs with photovoltaics.

- Introduce a so-called 1-2-3 rail ticket, granting unlimited travel in one of Austria’s nine provinces for 1 euro a day, 2 euros a day if you include a neighbouring province, and 3 euros a day for all of Austria.

- Increase cycling’s share of the traffic mix to 13% by 2025 from 7% currently.

- Reform existing tax on flights out of Austria, currently ranging from 3.50 euros per passenger for short-haul trips to 17.50 euros per passenger for long-haul. A flat rate of 12 euros will be introduced, a de facto increase.

- Work towards the most efficient economic instruments to establish “cost truth” for carbon emissions in sectors outside the emissions trading system by 2022.

- “Ecologise” the road toll for trucks so that the most polluting vehicles cost more to drive. Similarly, adjust car taxation to better reflect emissions.

- Take measures to reduce truck traffic through Austria, particularly on the busy Brenner route connecting Italy to Germany. Propose a “corridor toll” between Munich and Verona to “adapt” to the cost of more expensive routes, such as through Switzerland. Support local emergency measures to limit truck through-traffic such as truck quotas at the border. Make goods transport by train more attractive financially.

- As of the moment necessary to achieve the Paris climate goals, only allow new car registrations for emissions-free vehicles.

- Invest a billion euros in improving conditions of public transport, particularly expanding and improving services in and near urban areas. Invest a billion euros to ensure public transport is available nationwide, beyond urban areas.

- Demand within the European Council that European production standards be a condition for EU trade deals with third countries. “No to Mercosur” in its current form.

TRANSPARENCY

- Abolish official secrecy as currently applied across the civil service and make freedom of information an enforceable right.

- Give the Court of Audit the power to examine political parties’ accounts.

WOMEN

- Require 40% of board members at state-controlled enterprises to be women.

Reporting by Francois Murphy and Kirsti Knolle in Vienna and Michael Shields in Zurich, Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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