On Thursday, March 30, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi will deliver a speech to the deputies of the National Council of Austria – the lower house of the parliament.
According to information, Volodymyr Zelenskyi will address Austrian parliamentarians online before the start of the National Council meeting. The so-called “parliamentary event”, during which the address will be held, will be opened by the speaker of the National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka, at approximately 9:05 a.m. local time (10:05 a.m. Kyiv time).
Later in the session, there will be an hour of questions and answers to the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Shallenberg. After that, the deputies should discuss the proposals of the foreign policy committee and the committee on labor and social issues, in particular, regarding access to the Austrian labor market for Ukrainian refugees.
Zelenskyi’s address to the Austrian parliamentarians was planned last year, but it never took place due to the resistance of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), Austrian media remind.
Of the 27 EU countries, after the start of the full-scale war, the Ukrainian president did not speak only in the parliaments of Austria, Bulgaria and Hungary.
Formally, Zelenskyi will not speak at the meeting of the National Council of Austria either, since in order to overcome the opposition of the FPÖ, the president of Ukraine will procedurally speak at a “parliamentary event”.
FPÖ head Herbert Kikl called Zelensky’s planned speech a blow to Austria’s neutrality.
“Even if we condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine: Austria is a constitutionally neutral state, permanent neutrality is the cornerstone of our self-awareness, and the speech of a representative of the warring party in the center of our democracy is an absolute violation of taboos,” Kikl complained on Facebook.
As a neutral country, Austria does not support Ukraine with weapons, but provides humanitarian aid.
We will remind, the Federal President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen visited Kyiv in early February.
Chancellor of Austria Karl Neghammer came to Ukraine in April last year.