The right-wing Freedom Party of Austria wants to ban political parties from receiving donations larger than € 3,500. Such a law would significantly affect their coalition partner, the conservative People’s Party, for whom large donations have traditionally been a crucial source of income.
The Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) has suggested outlawing large donations to political parties, proposing a cap at € 3,500. Such a ban would hit the FPÖ’s coalition partner, the Austrian People’s Party (Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP), the hardest. During the campaign for the parliamentary elections of 2017, the People’s Party received over 2 million euros in donations, of which 1.2 million came from major contributions. The New Austria and Liberal Forum (Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum, NEOS) would also suffer; almost 80 percent of their campaign contributions in 2017 were higher than € 3,500.
The governing parties ÖVP and FPÖ agreed last year not to increase the financing of political parties through public funds. The FPÖ now seems to have decided this would not be sufficiently far-reaching. „Billionaires, industrialists and large companies should be banned from buying their way into politics“, said Harald Vilimsky, secretary general of the Freedom Party.
The Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs, SPÖ) has supported a cap on donations, albeit with a much higher ceiling of between € 100,000 and € 150,000.
Political parties in Austria are supported through public funds („Parteienförderung“). These funds amount to 158 million euros in 2019 and are spread across parties, parliamentary groups as well as parties’ training institutions.