Culture, Media, Science
Federal Chancellor Faymann: 2011, a "year of reforms"
Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann (Social Democratic Party) looked back on the year 2010 by pointing out that Austria had not only coped well with the challenges of the economic crisis but had also become a model country of the European Union and a shining example to other countries thanks to the lowest unemployment in the EU. Admitting that some decisive issues still needed to be tackled, i.e. the education reform, the nursing care fund, the health and tax reforms, the Federal Army reform, Fayman stated to be "proud of this country" in an interview with an Austrian daily at the end of December.
The Chancellor described the budget for 2011 as a "milestone" as it marked a reorientation – "away from cuts in social services towards bank and speculation taxes, namely taxes related to assets". Key tasks in the educational area were the school reform (2011), the further development of the "new comprehensive school" (for all teens aged between ten and fourteen) and of all-day schools as well as the implementation of the new employment law for teachers. In concrete terms this meant that 80,000 new all-day school places would become available next year. The total number of pupils attending all-day schools would rise from 120,000 to 200,000. The necessary amount of 80 million euro per year was provided for in the budget. Another aim was to lift the 10-per-cent limit for the pilot project "new comprehensive school" by next summer. The additional expenses of 50 million euro would be covered in the next budget, explained Faymann. University tuition fees would not be reintroduced in this legislative term.
A major tax reform was planned for 2013 provided that the upswing was continuing. Under the motto "more tax fairness", especially average incomes would benefit from wage tax cuts amounting to 3 billion euro in the framework of the prioritised wage tax reform. The Chancellor affirmed that he would also fight for EU-wide speculation taxes, a financial transactions tax and a change of group income taxation.
Budget 2011 adopted by Parliament
On 22/23 December 2010, the National Council and the Federal Assembly (the two chambers of the Austrian Parliament) adopted the budget for 2011. The coalition parties – Social Democratic Party of Austria and Austrian People's Party – voted in favour of the bill. The Federal Finance Act will take effect on 1 January 2011. The new budget plan provides for an expenditure of 70.1 billion euro and a revenue of 62.5 billion euro; this corresponds to a federal deficit of 2.6% of the GDP and a general government deficit of 3.2% (including Länder and municipalities). Expenditure cuts of about 1.4 billion euro as well as new taxes of about 1.2 billion euro have been planned (total austerity package: 2.6 billion euro). The largest cuts affect family benefits (family allowances) and social transfers (long-term care benefits). About two thirds of the extra income are attributable to the economic upswing, while one third is generated by taxes, e.g. the bank tax (500 million euro), the higher mineral oil tax (417 million euro) and the tobacco tax (100 million euro).
Court of Auditors' report on income: women are disadvantaged
According to a comparison of full-time employees in the Court of Auditors' latest report on income for 2008 and 2009, women earned only 81% of the income of men. On the basis of all employment relationships, women’s median income was only 60% of the median income of men in 2009. This is due to the fact that part-time work in Austria is dominated by women, representing 87% of all part-time workers. The smallest income gap between the genders is recorded in the public service. There is practically no difference in wages paid for full-time jobs; as far as part-time work is concerned, women achieve 93% of men's median income. But according to Minister for Women's Affairs Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek, there is "a light at the end of the tunnel". A "minor trend reversal" towards more wage equality (three percentage points) for full-time employees was registered between 2007 and 2009. Heinisch-Hosek stated that this was for example due to increased investments in childcare facilities in recent years. She called for additional federal funding of 15 million euro to increase the number of childcare places. The income gap in the private economic sector was to be narrowed by introducing an obligation to disclose the wages and salaries of personnel.
Social expenditure rose during crisis
Based on the Social Report 2009 to 2010, social expenditure rose to 30.7% of the GDP in 2009 (2008: 28.3%). Social Minister Hundstorfer expects a decrease in the share of social transfers in the GDP for 2010. Social expenditure had increased from 48.9 billion euro in 1995 by 58% to 77.3 billion euro in 2008.
Emir of Qatar pays visit to Austria
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, paid an official visit to Austria from 30 December 2010 to 1 January 2011. He was accompanied by his wife, Sheikha Mozah. Their hosts were Federal President Heinz Fischer and his wife Margit.
The official programme included political talks as well as a meeting with President of the Federal Economic Chamber Austria (WKÖ) Christoph Leitl and representatives of domestic enterprises. Bilateral agreements on double taxation and aviation were signed.
Qatar is an influential member of the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). In 2022 the emirate (in the north east of the Arabian peninsula extending into the Persian Gulf) will host the Football World Cup. Qatar has the third largest gas reserves in the world, after Russia and Iran.
Austria completed its two-year term on the UN Security Council
On 31 December 2010, Austria's two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, the most powerful body of the United Nations, came to an end. Austria had taken advantage of this opportunity to place emphasis on specific themes and to establish itself as a mediator in the international arena. It received international praise for its achievements in this respect. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged Austria's commitment to the Western Balkans and the good cooperation in the Security Council.
Important issues dealt with by the UN Security Council during Austria's term as a non-permanent member were Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iran. According to the Ministry of the Exterior, Austria succeeded in focusing international awareness on some specific concerns and was an important contact for non-governmental organisations in human rights issues, especially while holding the one-month rotating chair in November 2009. Other key concerns of Austria were the rule of law and the protection of civilians in armed conflicts. The most important achievement was UN Security Council Resolution 1894 on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts submitted by Austria and adopted unanimously.
After completing its term on the UN Security Council, Austria has applied for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2011 to 2014.
Russian-Austrian readmission agreement adopted
Minister of the Interior Maria Fekter reached an agreement on repatriation procedures for Russian asylum seekers during her official visit to Moscow on 16 December 2010. On the Russian side, the provisions by which Austria implements the EU-Russia Readmission Agreement were approved by the Federal Migration Service. This agreement defines procedures for the expulsion of asylum seekers from Austria to Russia and vice versa, lists the airports to and from which expulsions take place as well as time limits for expulsion.
In 2010 36 persons were expelled to Russia, 516 returned voluntarily. Asylum seekers from the Russian Federation have represented the largest group in the Austrian statistics of asylum seekers for some years. Until October 2010 almost 1,900 applications for asylum were filed, in the years before the number had been considerably higher. The share of people recognised as asylum seekers is declining significantly. While in 2006 71% of the asylum seekers from Russia were granted permission to stay, this percentage was down to 30% in 2009.
The largest group of Russian asylum seekers were Chechen applicants. To assess the risks to individual groups of persons, more delegations of the Ministry of the Interior will be sent to this trouble spot.
Fekter agreed on a Security Partnership with her Russian counterpart Rashid Nurgaliev to adopt a coordinated approach in the combat against terrorism.
Spindelegger comments on the elections in Belarus
It was deplorable that the leadership in Minsk had not taken advantage of the opportunities the elections had offered to Belarus, stated Minister of the Exterior Michael Spindelegger on 20 December 2010 with regard to the massive use of violence against demonstrators. This was by no means acceptable. The freedom of assembly and the freedom of expression were European fundamental values and basic elements of democracy. The EU had to monitor the future development in Belarus very closely, said Spindelegger.
Asylum for Christian refugees from Iraq
Austria admits 31 Christian refugees from Iraq, who will be granted asylum immediately. The persons affected will arrive in Austria in mid-January and will be accommodated in parishes. Other refugees are likely to follow.
Austria retains highest credit rating
The rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) reaffirmed the triple-A rating for the Republic of Austria. Hence, Austria has again be awarded the highest rating for being a "reliable and stable borrower". The outlook for the debt of the Republic of Austria was described as "stable". According to the rating agency, the Austrian economy was "resilient" and the budget consolidation strategy "clearly defined".
S&P drew attention to the high national debt but praised the flexible labour market and moderate wage policies in Austria. The rating agency explicitly warns that the AAA rating could come under pressure if Austria watered down its budget consolidation and accepted a renewed increase in its debt.
Minister of Finance Josef Pröll expressed his pleasure about this clear confirmation of the triple-A rating for Austria: "The hard work has paid off. This is a full proof of our creditworthiness, and our efforts to consolidate the budget are praised explicitly", said Minister Pröll. Based on the report of S&P, Austria "was clearly at the top of Europe in terms of sound public finances". Austria could reach its goal of getting out of the debt trap faster than countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark or France.
However, one should not sit back and content oneself, stressed the Minister of Finance. The partly continuing trend towards accelerating expenditure as well as structural weaknesses in administration still posed challenges. Pröll stated that it was his goal to consolidate the state budget on a sustainable basis. With the present budget and the budget plan for the period up to 2013 a foundation had been laid, said Minister of Finance Pröll.
Wifo and IHS expect stable growth for 2011/12
The Austrian economic researchers expect a stable real growth of at least 2% for 2011 and 2012. However, the experts warn of risks caused by the problems of some euro-zone countries. The austerity policy slightly curbed Austria's economic growth but the budget deficit was decreasing faster.
For 2011 the Economic Research Institute (Wirtschaftsforschungsinstitut/Wifo) and the Institute for Advanced Studies (Institut für Höhere Studien/HIS) forecast a growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.0% and 2.1%, respectively – after a likely plus of 2.0% and 1.9% in 2010. For the year 2012 Wifo expects a minor slowdown in economic growth to 2%, while IHS assumes an increase to 2.3%. Exports continue to develop favourably, but investors remain cautious. Private consumption is growing moderately even after the economic crisis. Germany remains the economic engine in Europe. The two economic research institutes expect a global growth of 4.1% and 4.6 %, respectively. In the USA growth is, however, expected to drop from 2.7% to 2.2% in 2011; but in 2012 economic growth in real terms is likely to climb to 2.9%.
Record of guest nights in November
The Austrian tourist industry got off to a good start into the winter season thanks to a record number of guest nights in November. Guest nights went up by 7.8% to 3.84 million nights in November, tourist arrivals surged by approximately 8% to 1.5 million. Increases were recorded in all the Länder of Austria, notably in Vienna and Vorarlberg.
To the extent that the year 2010 has been recorded statistically, the Austrian tourist enterprises reported a 1% increase in guest nights, reaching a level of 115.3 million nights. In the same period, tourist arrivals went up by a total of 3.7 % to 30.74 million. Minister for Economic Affairs Reinhold Mitterlehner was pleased about this trend. The latest record figures demonstrated that the approach of "focusing the tourist strategy on core markets for the winter – cities & culture as well as Alpine tourism – was working", said Mitterlehner.
Record Christmas sales
Thanks to Christmas shopping, the Austrian trade reported a new sales record. Based on estimates, sales grew by 4% by the end of December 2010 compared to the same period of the previous year. Domestic trade had achieved record sales amounting to 1.52 billion euro already in 2009, which "might be topped" in 2010, as the Austrian Institute for SME Research (KMU Forschung Austria) informed. Final sales figures for 2010 are not yet available.
Exports benefit from boom in China
Austrian exporters profit from the economic upswing in China. In the first three quarters of 2010, exports to China soared by 47.6% to 2.1 billion euro. The World Expo in Shanghai had also turned the spotlight on Austria. According to Economic Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner is was "one of the most successful events relating to Austria held abroad".
Bruno Kreisky Prize for the Political Book 2010 to Taylor and Mommsen
On 26 December 2010, the Renner Institute announced the winners of the Bruno Kreisky Prize for the Political Book of the Year 2010. The top prize went to Canadian political scientist and philosopher Charles Taylor for "A Secular Age". German historian Hans Mommsen received a special prize for his complete works. Prizes acknowledging their achievements were given to historian Traude Bollauf for her book about the emigration of Jewish women from Austria and Germany to England in 1938/39 "Dienstmädchenemigration nach England" (LIT Verlag 2010) as well as the journalists Gregor Mayer and Bernhard Odenahl for "Aufmarsch. Die rechte Gefahr aus Osteuropa" (Residenzverlag 2010), describing the threat of right-wing movements from Eastern Europe. Linguist Sandra Innerwinkler received this award for "Innovation im politischen Diskurs: eine Analyse ausgewählter Beispiele aus dem politischen Diskurs zwischen 2000 und 2006 in Österreich". ("Innovation in political discourse: an analysis of selected examples of the political discourse between 2000 and 2006"), published by Peter-Lang-Verlag in 2010. The prize for special achievements of a publisher went to the Carinthian publishing house Wieser Verlag owned by Lojze Wieser.
As the chairman of the jury of Renner Institute selecting the prize winners and Member of the European Parliament Hannes Swoboda stressed, the writers receiving the prizes in the Kreisky Anniversary Year (on 22 January 2011 the 100th anniversary of the birthday of the legendary federal chancellor will be celebrated, Editor's Note) are researchers whose work focuses on elucidation. By selecting Charles Taylor, the prize goes to a man who does research for example on the relationship between religion and the civil society and who for many years has been among those scholars for whom information of the public is a goal of writing.
Hans Mommsen, a great historian focusing on German history between 1918 and 1945, had for example presented pioneering studies on the end of the Weimar Republic and the rise of National Socialism. "Mommsen is a historian who sees contemporary history also as an emancipating research discipline and who is doing untiring research into the background of National Socialism", said Swoboda. "Even if the extreme right tries to change its outward appearance today, the core of right-wing extremism – division, exclusion, the search for an external enemy – remains unchanged; Mommsen's work is of lasting importance also in this respect".
The Bruno Kreisky prizes will be presented to the laureates in the framework of a series of events staged by the Renner Institute in the Kreisky Anniversary Year in spring 2011.
Award Ceremony at Hofburg: Austrian Art Prize 2010
As the "Outstanding Artists Awards", the Austrian Art Prize – previously called "prize in recognition of an artist's work" – will be presented in all categories in a single award ceremony. "This will ensure greater public attention and media presence to the prize-winning artists and the prize itself", emphasised Minister of Culture Claudia Schmied. "The artists receiving the Austrian Art Prize for 2010 have impressively demonstrated how diverse and rich artistic creation is in Austria. In their works of art, they set new esthetical standards, anticipate developments, try something new and reinterpret the traditional".
The Austrian Art Prize will be granted to artists for their complete oeuvre. The prize has been awarded in seven disciplines for the year 2010. The prize winners are: Jacqueline Csuss (children's and youth literature, translation), Franz Graf (visual arts), Jessica Hausner (film), Paulus Hochgatterer (literature), Richard Kriesche (video and media art), Paul Albert Leitner (artistic photography) and Thomas Daniel Schlee (music).
The ceremony will take place at Hofburg in Vienna on 25 January 2011. The prizes will be handed over by Federal President Heinz Fischer and Minister of Culture Claudia Schmied. The presentation speech will be delivered by German philosopher Julian Nida-Rümelin.
Important celebrations of the 200th birthday anniversary of Franz Liszt
In 2011 the Burgenland will celebrate the 200th birthday of Franz Liszt with a comprehensive programme of concerts and exhibitions. "Born to Be a Superstar" is the motto of "Lisztomania" proclaimed to celebrate Liszt's birthday anniversary on 22 October. The term had been coined by Heinrich Heine for the spectacular concerts of the magical musician which were received by the audience with unbounded enthusiasm.
The anniversary activities concentrate on Liszt's birth place Raiding, where next to the idyllic house in which the composer had been born an architecturally harmonious, purist Liszt Centre was opened in 2006. The concert hall of the Liszt Centre (seating 600 people) was designed by the Rotterdam-based architects' studio Atelier Kempe Thill that won the architectural design competition, in which 150 architects from 11 nations had participated.
Franz Liszt was not only an outstanding composer but also a brilliant composing improviser at the piano – a Keith Jarrett and Cecil Taylor of the 19th century. With his ecstatic performances, he would probably have outshone Taylor. Liszt destroyed several pianos, only the piano of the manufacturer Bösendorfer withstood his outbreaks.
The piano duo Johannes and Eduard Kutrowatz managing the Liszt Festival Raiding will pay tribute to the piano virtuoso at the opening of "Lisztomania" on 27 January 2011. Of course, numerous piano stars will be guests of the festival in Raiding. The Piano Sonata in B minor will be performed no less than three times in 2011 – by Elisabeth Leonskaja (28 January 2011), Ivo Pogorelich (17 March 2011) and Arcadi Volodos (22 October 2011). Other piano performances are given by Alice Sara Ott, Roberta Pili, Mihaela Ursuleasa and Leslie Howard.
Martin Haselböck and his orchestra "Wiener Akademie" have been working on a performance of Liszt's complete orchestra work in the original version of Weimar since 2010. The project is to be completed in 2012. All symphonic compositions of Liszt will be presented at four different events in Raiding in the Liszt Year.
A special cycle of the festival held in four seasonal phases is devoted to Liszt's "Lieder". Among the singers are Ildiko Raimondi (29 January 2011), Ruth Ziesak (18 March 2011) and Adrian Eröd (20 October 2011); on 23 October, the 200th anniversary of Liszt’s christening, Wiener Kammerchor will give a concert under the motto "Ave Maria at the church of Unterfrauenhaid, where he was baptised.
"Piano tiger" Liszt, who worked also as a church musician and organ player, left behind a comprehensive organ oeuvre comprising 70 compositions. The traditional organ festival "Liszt in Lockenhaus" will be devoted to it. Liszt's organ works will be performed on four evenings by artists like Robert Kovacs.
Aged 13 years, Liszt composed his only opera: "Don Sanche, ou le château d'amour" was premiered at Grand Opera in Paris on 17 October 1825. The score of this early work had been considered lost for a long time and was rediscovered only in the 20th century. The first historical-critical printed edition of the score of "Don Sanche" will be published on the occasion of the Liszt Year.
Various exhibitions held at different venues focus on the life and work of Franz Liszt. The early years of the child prodigy are presented at Liszt's birth house. The Museum of the Land of Burgenland explores the star phenomenon which purportedly started in music with Franz Liszt. An exhibition at the Haydn House delves into the position of the jubilarians of 2009 and 2011 as court conductors of the princely houses in Eisenstadt and Weimar. Landesgalerie presents Liszt as a passionate promoter of the art of his time.
"Listen to the light – see the sound" was the title of a symposium staged by eu-art-network in late summer at the Cselley Mill in Oslip (Burgenland). Artists from European cities in which Liszt had worked used him as an example to investigate phenomena of synesthesia in art – a selection of the works created by them is on show now.
The Diocesan Museum of Eisenstadt and the Museum für Baukultur (Museum of Architecture) in Neutal highlight Liszt's religious and intellectual interests. The deeply religious musician even received the minor orders to become a priest in Rome in 1865. Tribute is paid to Liszt also as a free-mason – together with other important members of Freemasonry from Burgenland at the Museum of Architecture.
Liszt builds bridges from Vienna to the Hungarian EU Presidency
On 1 January 2011, Hungary took over the Presidency of the European Union. This will also have consequences for Vienna's cultural scene. A very comprehensive cultural programme (ending on 30 June 2011) will be devoted to this neighbouring country. Franz Liszt will play an important role in it. Numerous concerts, exhibitions and conferences are staged under the title "Kulturfluss – Ungarn am Ruder" ("Cultural Stream – Hungary at the Helm"). In the preface of the programme, Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger stated that within the new Danube Region Strategy the "trademark 'Danube'" had to be promoted as "a new sign of identity". Hungarian Minister of the Exterior János Martonyi made a similar comment: "Liszt and his wonderful music as well as the Danube region and its diverse culture stand for creativity, tradition and innovation, in fact for our common future in Europe!"
The first event of the programme is the contemporary art exhibition "Cities on the River" presented by Galerie Ungart until 4 February 2011. On 22 January 2011, the "Christ oratory", a gala concert ushering in the Liszt anniversary year, will be given at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. The Hungarian embassy will stage "Salon Liszt", a three-part concert series, between February and May. On this occasion, the musician's original Baroque piano will also be presented.
The international conference "Danube Cultural Cluster" – initiated by Collegium Hungaricum in Vienna – will follow at MuseumsQuartier (MQ) on 10 and 11 March 2011.
The exhibition "Mantel der Träume" ("Coat of Dreams") presented at Theatre Museum from 3 March to 1 May 2011 will be devoted to Hungarian writers living in Vienna in the early 20th century. A "Festival of Europe for Children and Young People" is offered at the MQ on 6 May 2011 to raise awareness of EU-related subjects. Cultural and tourist treasures from Hungary are displayed at "[de]Freilichtgalerie[/dwe]" at Michaelerplatz from May to June 2011. From 17 to 26 June 2011, Strandbar Herrmann will organise the art festival "Hungary Beach 2011" presenting Hungarian bands, DJs, objects of art as well as culinary delights.
The events are organised by Collegium Hungaricum Vienna, the Hungarian embassy and the representation of the Hungarian Tourist Board in Austria. Between April and June, cultural events related to Hungary will not only take place in Eisenstadt, but also in Graz and Linz. The Hungarian ambassador in Vienna, Vince Szalay-Bobrovnicky, drew attention to Europe's humanitarian dimension, which is to be emphasised during the Hungarian Council Presidency: "There is no better way of expressing it than culture linking our peoples beyond borders".
Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art: Saints in Europe
The exhibition "Saints in Europe. Cult and Politics" is running at the Austrian Museum for Folk Life and Folk Art until 13 February 2011. The multi-facetted show on the saints and blessed of the European continent presents rarely shown documents and objects of art. The "careers" of the saints in the field of tension between Christianity and political power are traced – between function and functionalisation. Moreover, the show provides insights into diverse ways of depicting and promoting saints – from Gothic sculpture and devotional pictures to industrially produced plastic charms. The exhibition illustrates the changing meaning of saints as catalysts of national identity, their instrumentalisation by political and cultural elites as well as the recently propagated "new saint". In this way, the collection of curios of different cultural fields make a thrilling contribution to the discussion of Europe's historical and present self-awareness.
Novomatic Forum: the legendary gold treasure of the Inca
The Novomatic Forum opposite Secession in Vienna presents the exhibition "1000 Years of INCA Gold". The loan exhibits come from the famous Gold Museum in Lima and are presented for the first time in Vienna. The show does not only comprise burial objects of the Inca, but the journey to the past takes us also to civilisations creating works of art thousands of years before the Inca. In dark and mystical halls with music from the Peruvian Highlands, "1000 Years of INCA Gold" showcases the most beautiful objects from the Museo de Oro del Perú. Cups from solid gold, diabolically grinning masks and nose rings, ribbon-like crowns, plumes with realistic representations of animals as well as cult pottery demonstrate the high level of craftsmanship.
For the Inca gold was a symbol of the sun, beauty and a gift of the Gods without material value. To the Spanish conquerors gold meant wealth – a historical misunderstanding finally leading to the collapse of the huge Inca empire south of the equator.
Wien Museum: The Ernst Jandl Show
Wien Museum Karlsplatz presents a show (closing on 13 February 2011) on the Viennese poet and performance artist Ernst Jandl (1925-2000). With his sound and performance poems he made the audience laugh, reflect, and sometimes go wild. His texts combine humour with existentialist seriousness and the pleasure in language with political commitment. The avant-garde artist wrote poems in every-day language, experimental prose, radio plays, theatre plays, films and even a ballet. The passionate jazz fan worked together with musicians for many years, his collaboration with alto saxophone player Wolfgang Puschnig was highly successful. One of the most beautiful poems of Ernst Jandl: "manche meinen lechts und rinks kann man nicht velwechsern. werch ein illtum!" ("Some think light and reft cannot be cunfosed. That is prainly an ellor.")
Minister of Sport Darabos informed on the increase of the sports budget
Federal Minister Norbert Darabos had good news concerning the federal budget for 2011 for the Members of Parliament in the budget committee before the turn of the year. 129.1 million euro would be made available for sport in 2011 (2010: 128 million euro).
Federal Minister Norbert Darabos informed that new guidelines for sports funding – which also covered the respective control mechanisms – were being prepared. The amendment of the Sports Funding Act is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2012.
The abolition of the gambling monopoly of the Austrian Lotteries making an important contribution to the budget for sports funding was not a problem as a cap had been introduced before, establishing a reliable basis for planning.
The Cabinet, representation and advertising expenses had to be deducted from the total budget of the Ministry of Defence and Sport.
The budget earmarked for anti-doping measures was the highest ever, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) would receive 2.1 million euro – compared to 1.8 million in the previous year. The funds would be used for ongoing doping checks, long-term tests and prevention campaigns, for which international renown has been won. The sports funding budget would not be subject to supervision in the framework of the Transparency Database.
Darabos also stated that intensive round table deliberations would be held to develop ideas how to make school sports and winter sports weeks more attractive; results would become available by the end of January. The member of government explained the different structural models. According to Darabos, the recommendation to fund also voluntary activities from the budget would be implemented. The activities of the RED-WHITE-RED TEAM should be continued, the focus would be on measures attracting public attention.
Darabos also informed that the debate on sports coverage by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) had to be continued. For the Alpine Ski World Cup in Schladming 2013 an additional amount of 5.6 million euro would be made available; thus Schladming would be supported with a total of almost 25 million euro – compared to 7 million for St. Anton in 2001. A special working group had been set up to develop concepts for integration in sports; sport-related integration issues had been laid down in the National Action Plan for Integration.
The Minister expressed his hope that more activities would take place at European level because so far they had been shifted mainly to the national level. The activities in the framework of the campaign "Fair Play" were carried on consistently.
With regard to the Table Tennis Academy of Werner Schlager in Schwechat, Minister of Sport Darabos pointed out that the federal government had agreed to finance the construction but would not cover the running costs.
Darabos also pledged his commitment to the Sports Facilities Plan and the idea of a sports funding database to document the flow of funds. Darabos recommended to set priorities for the current agenda of NADA.
Sabrina Filzmoser and Benjamin Karl received "Military Sports Award 2010"
Sabrina Filzmoser ranked third in the Judo World Championships and Benjamin Karl, who came in second at the Olympic snowboarding competition, were the winners in the category "Athletes of the Year" of the "Military Sports Awards" of the Austrian Federal Army in December 2010.
Biathlon coach Alfred Eder was awarded the title "Trainer of the Year" at the ceremony at the Museum of Military History in Vienna. The awards were handed over by Minister Norbert Darabos and General Edmund Entacher, Chief of General Staff.
Traditional Christmas celebration at the House of Sport was well attended
On 20 December 2010, hundreds of important personalities of the Austrian sports arena bade farewell to the old year at the traditional Christmas celebration of the Ministry of Sport at the House of Sport.
Minister of Sport Norbert Darabos welcomed the guests and thanked all athletes, officials and employees for their excellent cooperation in 2010. "We face a mega-project in 2011. I am proud of the great progress we have already made with the planned reform of the funding system this year. I consider it highly important that this reform is a joint project of the entire Austrian sports community. I am sure that this time next year we will already be able to celebrate the new Federal Sports Funding Act."
Minister Darabos took advantage of this opportunity to wish all those active in sport a successful year 2011.