The Austrian Expatriate World Council was founded in 1952 aiming to coordinate the various existing associations of Austrian citizens living abroad. Its primary function is to represent its members in front of the Austrian federal government, public authorities, political parties and relevant departments in the economic and cultural field. It is governing body of over 170 associations and has several thousand members.
The organization has now again, as in previous years, made an effort to research its members’ needs. From the beginning of March until April 20th an anonymous online survey has been conducted to find a better understanding for these needs and to communicate them to the Austrian Foreign Ministry.
The Austrian Federal Computing Centre (BRZ) was in charge of designing, setting up and implementing the online platform. The survey consisted of ten themes related to which e-Government and e-Participation services expats want from Austria. Three of them were to be picked as a choice, an own suggestion could also be added. The answers were weighted, points were given according to the relative importance. The themes were:
- Citizenship related issues
- Employment Services
- Education in Austria, specially for youth
- Institutionalized representation of expatriates in the Austrian parliament
- General information about Austria
- Heritage related questions
- Participation in elections
- Pension related questions
- Returning to Austria
- Social- and insurance related questions
2.779 citizens have participated, 350 have added own suggestions and 1.245 have requested to keep informed via email about further polls.
The outcome was quite clear:
Citizenship related issues was the most important topic with 3.002 points, closely followed by
Pension related questions with 2.961 points and on the astonishing 3rd place is the need for
participation in national elections with 2.538 points. This third issue is in particular interesting as it shows, that expats are interested on politics in their home country and they wish to actively participate, which seems to contrast the situation created by poor voter turnout in Austrian elections. Since the introduction of postal voting in 2007 this is already a possibility.
The following three priorities were quite a bit behind the first. Returning to Austria with 1.632, Social- and insurance related questions with 1.619 and General information about Austria with 1.552 points.
Finally there was a cluster of the trailing four issues Heritage related questions with 967 points, Education in Austria, 843 points, Institutionalized representation with 831 and finally Employment Services with only 729.
Of the 350 people who have added their own thoughts it was remarkable that the most mentioned was the will to recieve Austrian television (not because it’s so bad!), culture, questions of taxes and legal issues and many others, which I’ll not name here in detail. Should you be interested in further information you cna dpwnload a pdf here (in german).
The final findings will be published in more detail during a conference in the beginning of September of this year.
by Daniel Botz - E-Voting.CC