Rosencrantz criticizes military transports through Austria

Rosencrantz criticizes military transports through Austria

08/15/2022 15:57 (act. 08/15/2022 16:00)

FPÖ presidential candidate Rosencrantz

Federal presidential candidate for the FPÖ Rosencrantz ©APA/HANS KLAUS TECHT

FPÖ presidential candidate Walter Rosenkranz on Monday criticized the implementation of foreign military transport through Austria with reference to figures from the Defense Ministry. According to a recent response to a parliamentary question from Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner (ÖVP), 433 transports from Western European countries and NATO countries have been registered since January 23. Rosenkranz sees neutrality as “massively” damaged.

In the inquiry by FPÖ deputy Christian Hafenecker entitled “Transit of foreign military trucks on weekends and at night” – in connection with the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine – after the transport of weapons from Western European countries through Austrian territory in the last five months. The number of such NATO military transports was also asked.

According to the query response now available, from 23 January (until 23 June) of this year, Germany carried out 252 military transports through Austria, followed by 57 NATO transports, 48 ​​from Great Britain, 43 from the Netherlands. , 17 from France, twelve from Switzerland and four from Belgium – a total of 433.

However, the response does not indicate which country of destination the shipments went to. “Finally, for the sake of integrity, it should be noted that my department has not received or received any transit requests for military goods destined for Ukraine,” said Minister Tanner.

The figure of 433 transports does not include all military transports carried out by foreign states through Austria: According to a query response published in early June (from the beginning of the year to the deadline of 11 April), a total of 1,100 military personnel transports passed through Austria. This figure also includes transports from countries outside Western Europe (and also those carried out during the day, note). This April’s data points to a slight but not significant increase. In comparison, in 2021 there were 3,300 transports of this type throughout the year.

When asked about the legal basis for transport, Tanner refers to the Troop Residence Act and an EU Council decision that EU member states are considering “providing Ukraine with financial and logistical support, including provision of protective equipment”. Tanner also cites the Council’s decision: “Member states permit the transit of military equipment, including escorts, through their sovereign territory, including airspace.” And since NATO member states are not classified as parties to a conflict, allowing transit from one NATO member state to another NATO member state is “legally permissible”.

Rosenkranz explained via broadcast on Monday that the Defense Ministry “bluntly admitted in its response to the inquiry that, among other things, it was heavy military equipment for use in Ukraine.” This is in contradiction with neutrality: “The fact that Austria is becoming a logistic-military center for warring factions enormously undermines permanent neutrality and ultimately means that our neutrality is no longer respected and accepted internationally. through this opportunistic behavior of the federal government and also the federal president (Alexander Van der Bellen, note) is exposed.”

Rosenkranz also sees no legal obligation for Austria to allow such transports: “Because, according to the EU Council’s decision, such transports may be allowed – or not”. Furthermore, the stationing and transport of foreign armed forces and military equipment in and through Austria can only be approved if “the Republic of Austria does not oppose superior foreign policy interests”. He therefore wondered which Austrian foreign policy interests might be more important “than protecting and maintaining our neutrality”.

“Anyone who, like NATO, supplies weapons to a party to the conflict is part of the conflict. In view of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, our national territory should no longer be a transit area for foreign military transport and weapons delivery. ” According to Rosenkranz, Austria must become a “no-carriage zone for war equipment”.