Few Austrians see need for more support of ethnic minorities

Fewer than one in five Austrians think of ethnic minorities as a group in need of protection.Magazine profil reports today (Mon) only 18 per cent of Austrians thought ethnic minorities deserved more protection. The poll – conducted by Viennese research agency Karmasin – also showed that two in 10 Austrians said the same about migrants and asylum seekers.Only 13 per cent told analysts religious minorities should get more protection in Austria, while eight per cent said the same about homosexuals.Poor (62 per cent) and disabled people (69 per cent) have more support, the research shows. Karmasin also found that a vast majority of 74 per cent considered sick people in need of protection, with children topping the study with 83 per cent.Asked by Karmasin whether there should be more focus on adhering to human rights, a majority of 73 per cent of the 500 interviewed Austrians agreed.News that just 18 per cent of Austrians call for more protection for ethnic minorities comes on the heels of a survey by IMAS showing that 42 per cent think immigrants receive more preferential treatment by authorities than themselves.Another recent Karmasin survey showed 49 per cent of Austrians consider asylum seekers as “generally dishonest”, and that a majority of 53 per cent agreed with the claim asylum seekers “are more criminal than other social groups”.These results could be regarded as a blow to Austria’s attempts to get rid of its image of being xenophobic.Austria has been accused ever since the end of World War Two in 1945 of being a hotbed for the political right-wing mindset.The accusations were given weight when several government ministers of various parties were identified as former members of the Nazi era NSDAP party, with some of them even serving for Adolf Hitler’s Schutzstaffel (SS) squadron.Late Freedom Party (FPÖ) chief Friedrich Peter was vehemently defended by Social Democratic (SPÖ) Chancellor Bruno Kreisky in the 1970s when it was revealed Peter was a high-ranking SS officer. In what is now considered a political manoeuvre, Peter in return supported the SP֒s minority government before the two parties started to officially cooperate.Improving external relationships worsened dramatically 10 years ago when the People’s Party (ÖVP) formed a government coalition with Jörg Haider’s FPÖ.European Union (EU) decision-makers decided to reduce diplomatic and political relations to Austria – which joined the EU in 1995 – to a minimum before things went back to normal after some years.The conservative / right-wing coalition ruled Austria for seven years before the ÖVP teamed up with the SPÖ.