Austria’s Presidential Election
In Austria's presidential election on April 25, Mr. Heinz Fischer, Deputy Speaker of the Lower House of the Austrian Parliament and candidate of the Social Democratic Party, took 52.4% of the vote against 47.6% for Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner, a conservative. Mr. Fischer will assume the presidency on July 8, 2004 replacing current President Thomas Klestil, who is ending two six-year terms. Mrs. Ferrero-Waldner will continue as Foreign Minister. After some forty years in parliament, Mr. Fischer is one of the most experienced social democratic politicians in Austria. At age sixty-five, he is known for his adeptness in mediating partisan bickering among factions. Born in 1938 in Graz, Mr. Fischer studied law at the University of Vienna earning his Ph.D in 1961. He began his career with the Social Democratic Party in the 1960s, rising to Speaker as well as Deputy Speaker of the Lower House of parliament.
Austrian Minister of Agriculture and Environment Visits the U.S.
Austrian Federal Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Water Management Josef Pröll visited Washington for bilateral talks. On April 30, the Minister met with U.S. Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Ann Veneman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation Bob Stallman, as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations such as Greenpeace.
“What do very diverse Austrians, such as Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel and Carinthian Governor Jörg Haider, have in common? They both were influenced by their stay in the U.S.A.,” explained Professor Günter Bischof, Director of Center Austria of the University of New Orleans at the presentation of the book, The Americanization/Westernization of Austria on April 5, 2004 at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
En Route Through the ‘Other’ Europe
One of the misconceptions of our time is the assumption that there is little left in Europe to be discovered. Karl-Markus Gauß and Kurt Kaindl prove otherwise with their reportage on the 'other’ Europe, where luxury and the "cutting edge" have not yet reached. In a collaborative effort, Gauß took up pen and, together with Kaindl and his camera, began a journey through the ten new members of the European Union to seek out the cultural richness of Europe¹s unknown corners and unrevealed lives. The following is a small selection from their work since 1999 on the new member countries of Central, Eastern,- and Southern Europe.
A Photo Reportage by Karl-Markus Gauß and Kurt Kaindl
In Bratislava and a few other Slovakian cities, life has long resembled that of Western European cities with their fashions and fast, everyday tempo of life. But the majority of Slovaks live in small villages, and there in the countryside, old traditions and customs are still cultivated to this day. Such is predominately the case in the German village of Hopgart where this farm woman poses proudly and confidently before the camera.
On March 10, 2004, the BAWAG FOUNDATION opened for the first time an exhibit of artists as a group in celebration of the enlargement of the European Union by ten new member states. FREE ENTRANCE presents assembled works by twelve artists from the capitals of Austria's Central and Eastern European neighbors: Bratislava, Budapest, Ljubljana, Prague, and of course, Vienna. The exhibit will run until June 19. Over the last number of years, a whole series of exhibitions have been dedicated to this region, but most of them have provided only one interpretation and, thus, contributed to supporting an attitude regarding Central and Eastern Europe as an exotic region.
Austria Celebrates 100 Years of Soccer
Next to skiing, there is no other Austrian topic that commands so much attention as soccer. Founded in 1904, the Austrian Soccer Association (ÖFB) will celebrate 100 years of the sport, beginning with a Gala in the Viennese State Opera on August 17, followed by an international match against Germany the next day.