Austrian students protest new government's student fees plan
Monday, January 8, 2007
A crowd of about 250 activists from the Austrian coalition government by starting a demonstration in front of the , the largest in the country.(Österreichische Hochschülerinnen- und Hochschülerschaft, ÖH) as well as the Organisation of (Verband Sozialistischer StudentInnen Österreichs, VSStÖ) quickly reacted to the announced forming of the new
Specifically, the demonstration protested against the proposed plan of enabling students to do community service work at a rate of6 (about 7.6) per hour to work off student fees of about EUR 372 (about USD 475,8) per semester. These fees were introduced under the government of chancellor , which ruled Austria from 2000 on.
The protest started directly in front of the university buildings on the famous. Protestors blocked the street by sweeping the street, symbolising the work students have to do in order to study. They proceeded to the headquarters of the SPÖ, where they chanted "Who betrayed us? Social Democrats!", and later to the building. After this, they announced to go to the ÖVP headquarters, when this reporter had to leave the scene.
On October 1, 2006, a newwas elected. The narrowly won the election, while the ÖVP suffered severe losses and fell to second place. Since then, intense negotiations between the two parties about a coalition have taken place and presumably ended today, when at 13:30 hours, SPÖ leader and ÖVP leader Wolfgang Schüssel announced the finishing of negotiations and conciliation of the two parties in a new government, which is to be sworn in by on January 11.
One of the deals struck today between the SPÖ (who called for the complete abolition of the controversial student's fees during the election campaign) and the ÖVP calls for legislation enabling easier access to and higher scholarships, as well as reforms in the student loan system and, most visibly, a system whereby students will be able to work in organizations providing social and community services. For this work, they will receive EUR 6 per hour. The total fees for one semester amount to EUR 372; this means a student will have to work 62 hours per semester to fully pay the fees.
- "Live newsfeed of the negotiations (in German)" — , January 8, 2007
- Florian Prischl. "A video of the demonstration in front of SPÖ headquarters" — , January 8, 2007