Othmar Karas bids farewell to the European Union Parliament

After a quarter of a century, the ÖVP MP, most recently First Vice-President, ends his European career.

After 25 years as a member of the ÖVP, Othmar Karas officially celebrated his farewell in front of a large number of comrades in the Brussels EU Parliament on Wednesday evening. He is not contesting the 2024 European elections. He will miss the European Parliament, but he will not forget the European idea and democracy, he told EU representatives of several parties, representatives of all EU institutions and from Austria.

The EU is “not finished”: according to Karas, it is only 70 percent functional; He wants to reach 100. Karas thanked all the staff and his family for their support over the years. “Thank you and best wishes to you, dear Othmar,” Maltese Parliament Speaker Roberta Metzola said in German. He called Karas “a voice of wisdom in heated debates” and praised his “unique ability as a statesman to cross political lines”.

The political future is still uncertain

Karas also opened up about his political future on Wednesday evening. More recently, he was proposed as the future Austrian EU commissioner by Neos boss Pete Meinl-Reisinger – a former employee of Karas – and also received support from Greens and SPÖ politicians. Even as a federal leader, he is often debated.

As the ÖVP’s European conscience, Othmar Karas made a name for himself both inside and outside his party. The long-serving MEP also holds the position of First Vice-President of the European Parliament from 2022. He was one of the 14 Vice Presidents from 2012 to 2014 and from 2019 to 2022. The now 66-year-old assumed leadership of the ÖVP delegation in 2006 when he moved into local politics in Vienna. In the two European elections in 2014 and 2019, he ran as the ÖVP’s primary candidate for the European elections. The ÖVP clearly managed to defend its first place in both ballots.

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Karas held several positions in the European Parliament: in his own EPP group, he was vice-president and treasurer of the group. Most recently, he was the Vice-Chairman of the Subcommittee on Taxation and a Full Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. During the previous legislative term, Karas was also the head of the Russian delegation to the European Parliament. (APA)

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