January 7, 2020 / 5:23 PM / 10 days ago

FACTBOX-Highlights of Austrian conservative-Greens coalition deal

VIENNA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Austrian conservative Sebastian Kurz’s coalition cabinet with the Greens was sworn in on Tuesday.

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. ($1 = 0.8981 euros) (Reporting by Francois Murphy and Kirsti Knolle in Vienna and Michael Shields in Zurich, Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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