Zelensky will speak in the Austrian parliament despite the opposition of the far-right

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.

Agenda was published on the parliament’s website. According to the information, Volodymyr Zelensky 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 9:05 a.m. local time (10:05 a.m. Kyiv time).

Later in the session, there will be an hour of q&a to the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Schallenberg. 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.

Zelensky’s address to the Austrian parliamentarians was planned last year, but it never took place due to the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) resistance, 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 National Council of Austria meeting either, since to overcome the opposition of the FPÖ, the president of Ukraine will procedurally speak at a “parliamentary event”.

FPÖ head Herbert Kickl 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,” Kickl complained on Facebook.

As a neutral country, Austria does not support Ukraine with weapons, but provides humanitarian aid.

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