VIENNA: Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann’s new government was sworn in on Monday in Vienna, kicking off a second five-year term of the grand coalition.
Austrian President Heinz Fischer swore in the new Cabinet at Hofburg Palace and called for “a trust in advance” in the new government amid protests against the shutdown of the federal science ministry and criticism that the new government made few changes.
Vice-Chancellor Michael Spindelegger of the People’s Party of Austria (OeVP) takes over the finance ministry while Sebastian Kurz of OeVP, 27, became the foreign minister in the new Cabinet and thereby the youngest foreign minister in the European Union.
Faymann of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPOe) and Spindelegger pledged to balance the budget by 2016.
The new government will implement a series of reform measures in the field of tax, pension, child care and school, including raising taxes on alcohol and tobacco as well as fighting tax fraud, and reducing pension pressure by increasing the actual retirement age by 1.6 years in the next five years.
Spindelegger has pledged to cut spending in public administration and boost investments to give impulses for growth.
In September’s elections, the Austrian centrist coalition won a combined majority in the parliamentary elections, despite declining support compared to the last election in 2008. PNA