Bucher wants rural reform to avoid financial disaster

Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) boss Josef Bucher has called for a drastic reform of political structures in the countryside.The right-winger claimed today (Mon) smaller towns and communities should be forced to merge to avoid the financial collapse of the country. Bucher – whose appeal comes after various newspapers and magazines as well as economists raised similar concerns – claimed around 70 per cent of communities face the risk of going bankrupt. The former Freedom Party (FPÖ) official said the towns’ current debt burden was 11.5 billion Euros overall.Bucher said towns must create “reasonable structures” to fend off a financial worst case scenario. He added that the value of public expenditure should be slashed by around one billion Euros a year to 12 billion Euros. “The longer we wait, the more expensive it gets,” the BZÖ chairman said.Bucher, who has also called out for a reform of the federal bureaucratic system, vowed to raise the issue in parliament.His statements come in the middle of heated discussions between federal political decision-makers and provincial politicians about the soaring costs of healthcare services and the education system. Provincial governors and town mayors have claimed the federal government coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the People’s Party (ÖVP) is forcing them to financially take care of too many aspects to burden.The Republic of Austria has debts of around 205 billion Euros, more than 70 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Experts have branded the country’s bureaucracy as bloated and the structure of its administration as old-fashioned, little flexible and inefficient for many years.