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The so-called Wiener-Charta is one of the most important projects undertaken by the current ruling coalition in Vienna, Austria - the SPÖ (the Austrian Social Democratic Party) and Greens Party.
It aims to provide the most essential principles for a harmonious co-existence of people living in Vienna as the integration council member of SPÖ, Sandra Frauenberger, pointed out: “The Charta is a joint agreement of how we want to live together in a city.” The project calls for citizens’ participation and will represent the result in autumn this year.
Integration in Austria has been an ever-present discussion among politicians and scholars. For a long time, the Austrian government has denied the fact that Austria is an immigration country. As a result, there was little focus on policies and regulations on integration until the last fifteen years. With the number of migrants growing, Austrian authorities have come to learn the reality; applicable integration policies are urgently needed for a successful community.
The dissatisfaction with the integration policy has been visible among the population. Last year, more than 7000 members of the Austrian Social Democratic Party took part in a survey about “How satisfied are you with the policy of your own party?” According to the result of the survey, participants were mostly disappointed and dissatisfied with the approach of the government towards integration policy, stating politicians failed to come up with efficient regulations for integration.
In many ways, this Wiener-Charta is seen to be an attempt to gain back peoples’ trust in the politics. The mayor of Vienna Michael Häupl from SPÖ encourages different groups of the society to take part in this project – one of the biggest civil participation projects in Europe.
From now on a difficult process would start, he said when presenting the project on March 13, 2012, a process that should improve social coexistence. His coalition partner, the vice mayor Maria Vassilakou from the Greens Party indicated that it is important to have a “fundamental agreement” which cannot be “ordered” from “above” and therefore, there will be Charta-talks where people can participate and bring ideas to the project.
For the opposition party ÖVP (Austrian People’s Party), the Wiener-Charta comes too late. They indicated that the problems of the integration have been increased in the last couple of years but the SPÖ just woke up from the “winter sleep of the integration policy.” The FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party) complained that the Wiener-Charta is nothing but “Bla-Bla-Bla” from the Red and Greens, another attempt to throw out people’s tax money.
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