Democracy and rights
Austria is a rule of law and has a developed
democratic system that guarantees political and civil
rights. But human rights organizations and other judges
have been worried by the right-wing political and
anti-immigrant party FPÖ's growing political influence
in recent years. During the nearly one and a half years
that the FPÖ was a member of a coalition government
until May 2019, measures were taken that were considered
to threaten fundamental rights.
The coalition government between bourgeois ÖVP and
right-wing populist FPÖ, which ruled the country from
December 2017 to May 2019 (see Current policy), was
criticized not least for its harsh policies against
migrants and asylum seekers. The stricter asylum policy,
which included restrictions on the number of asylum
seekers and harsh conditions for migrants, began to be
introduced in connection with the refugee crisis in
Europe from 2015. The government was also criticized for
trying to restrict media freedom (see below) and a new
law from 2017 that banned comprehensive headgear in
public places received criticism for being
discriminatory and violating religious and freedom of
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Austria, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Austria has multi-party systems and the parliamentary
and presidential elections are conducted in correct and
fair forms. The parties can operate without hindrance
and there is freedom of association as well as freedom
of assembly. The bans on neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism, hate
propaganda and the denial of the Holocaust during World
War II, however, mean that there are opportunities for
the authorities to make restrictions on these rights.
Women participate in politics to a relatively high
degree. After the 2017 election, about 37 percent of the
members of parliament were women.
There is no legislation that prevents minorities from
sitting in the legislative assemblies in the country.
Among the Members of Parliament, Slovenes, Hungarians
and Roma are represented, although not so many.
Corruption is not a major problem in Austrian
society. The country is among the 20 countries with the
least corruption according to Transparency
International's index of corruption in the countries of
the world (see here).
At the same time, a number of large corruption deals
linked to politicians have helped to reduce the
confidence among the voters of the politicians. A former
finance minister has been charged with suspicion of
receiving bribes and for embezzlement in connection with
the sale of state-owned apartments at the beginning of
the first decade of the 21st century (see also Modern
History). In the spring of 2019, a scandal broke over
the party leader of the FPÖ, Heinz-Christian Strache. He
was forced to resign as vice-chancellor of the
government and as FPÖ leader after a video recording was
circulated in which he promised a woman who claimed to
be a wealthy Russian investor state business contract in
exchange for FPÖ to receive support in the 2017
election. to the fall of the entire coalition government
(see alsoCalendar: May 2019).
The Council of Europe and Transparency International
have also called for more effective legislation on party
contributions and lobbying.
Freedom of expression and media
Freedom of the press and opinion was written into the
Constitution in 1920 but was restricted in the 1930s. It
was not until 1955 that freedom of the press was
completely restored. It is generally well respected, but
there is some criticism of restrictions on the freedom
of information which prevents transparency in public
activities, and that prosecution can be brought for
In recent years, several journalists have been sued,
often by politicians - notably members of right-wing
populist parties and officials and judges. The European
Court of Human Rights has, in some cases, ruled that
national judgments violated freedom of expression.
According to both Freedom House and Reporters Without
Borders, the threats to freedom of the press increased
towards the end of the 2010 when FPÖ was a member of the
government. For example, reports were leaked that
government agencies were trying to limit information
they conveyed to certain specific newspapers that were
identified as particularly "critical". FPÖ politicians
and government officials also made several outrageous
statements against journalists. Austrian media and the
Austrian industry organization for journalists and
newspaper publishers expressed strong concern after FPÖ
criticized various media and individual journalists in
various ways. One of the most talked about attacks was
when the FPÖ leader and then Vice-Chancellor
Heinz-Christian Strache criticized a journalist at the
public service company ORF as well as the media company
itself for spreading lies and fake news (in a Facebook
post).see Calendar: February and March 2018
Austria rallied from place 11 2018 to place 16 2019
in Reporters Without Borders review of freedom of the
press in the countries of the world (see list here).
Judicial system and legal security
Austria has a well-functioning judicial system and
its independent status is statutory. The Constitution
guarantees legal certainty.
Since 1999, there has been a special human rights
council to oversee authorities that sort under the
Ministry of the Interior, including the police. It was
set up, among other things, as a result of an incident
in 1999 when a Nigerian asylum seeker died in connection
with police being transported back to his home country.
Three police officers were later convicted of causing
his death. According to human rights organizations, the
police sometimes use force in connection with arrests.
Criticism has also been directed at the long waiting
times, sometimes over four years, for asylum seekers to
have their applications for residence permits tested.