The Austrian Convention and Constitutional Reform
On 30 June 2003, the Austrian Convention took up its work and started to evaluate the Austrian Federal Constitution and to formulate proposals for Constitutional Reform. The Convention was established by a Founding Committee on 2 May 2003 which laid down the tasks and composition of the Convention. The Austrian Convention was inspired by the European Convention and the debates on a Constitution for Europe. Under the chairmanship of Dr. Franz Fiedler, the former President of the Austrian Court of Audit, the Austrian Convention worked on an extensive report that was presented on 28 January 2005. The report consists of a substantive analysis of the body of Austrian constitutional laws and proposals for the reform of the Federal Constitutional laws and central institutions of the state.
From July 2005 to July 2006 a Special Committee of the Nationalrat (National Council = First Chamber of the Austrian Parliament) discussed the report extensively. Following the general elections in October 2006 the new Federal Government established a Commission of Experts at the Federal Chancellery that shall devise concrete proposals for constitutional reform on the basis of the report of the Austrian Convention. However, unlike the Austrian Convention which was aimed to be a broad and comprehensive body encompassing members of the opposition parties and open to public debate, the Commission of Experts is a governmental advisory body.
In 2007 the Commission of Experts has presented its first report on clearing up the vast body of constitutional laws, introducing administrative courts and the reform of independent administrative bodies and regulatory agencies. Parts of these proposals were adopted in December 2007 (see 94/ME and 314 d.B., XXIII. GP). Also, some other topics that were already discussed in the Austrian Convention, i.e. reform of the electoral laws (94 d.B., XXIII. GP) and budget laws (203 d.B., XXIII. GP), have been adopted by Parliament as well.
On this website, you can find some general information on the Austrian Convention in English (follow the link below). In German, you can find comprehensive information on the Austrian Convention and on constitutional reform in Austria. The aim of this website is to present the topic of constitutional reform in its political, scholarly and public contexts for the first time in Austria.
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