Interview with Angelika Mlinar MEP

Earlier in October, Austria went to the ballot and NEOS reached an impressive fourth place spreading a pro-European message. What is your take on the result?

I am very happy, that NEOS succeeded in the election campaign again. We gained around 30.000 votes and an additional mandate in the national parliament. This is quite a success for our young liberal party. 

We had a strong focus on Europe and the economy. However I am very concerned about the fact that the right wing parties will probably form the new government and that the Greens are not represented in parliament anymore. This shows a clear right shift within Austria's population. NEOS remains the only true liberal force in Austria and has enough mandates to either support or block constitutional changes of 2 big parties. Thus we can influence Austrian legislature with more liberal and progressive ideas in the coming years. 

You are very much engaged with gender equality issues, since you chair the ALDE Party Gender Equality Network (GEN) and you are a Member of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality of the European Parliament. How do you see the situation of women in politics? What kind of initiatives does the GEN put forward to promote equal opportunities?

The situation of women in politics is slightly improving but a lot still needs to be done! There is established and growing evidence that women's leadership in political decision-making processes improves them. Women demonstrate political leadership by working across party lines on issues of gender equality, such as the elimination of gender-based violence, parental leave and childcare and pensions. Civil society and politicians are more and more conscious about the gender gap in politics as in many other areas. However, barriers still persist. 

These barriers are to be found in prevailing social and economic regimes, as well as in existing political structures. I have personally experienced that being a candidate or even a frontrunner is not an easy task. However, I’ve gone my way and I want to advocate and speak up for young women to make it easier for them. Encouraging and motivating women is an essential step in the direction of achieving gender equality.

Liberals are giving a good example at the EU level. 4 out of 5 of our Commissioners are women. On a daily basis I always try to put on the gender glasses and make sure that gender balance is respected in the political debates/panels in order to give the same visibility to both men and women. The ALDE party has launched the EWA in 2016. This is an annual programme teaching women how to be successful in elections, and in their future political careers. I believe this is an extremely useful instrument for women to have an immediate result in their upcoming elections.

You were the keynote speaker at 2017 European Women’s Academy. Launched in 2016, the Academy aims to empower female candidates of Liberal parties with additional skills to pursue their career goals. What were your impressions of this year’s edition?

I am honored to take part in this project. Seeing all those talented and ambitious women gives me hope for the future. We need to inspire and connect dedicated women to support their strength and talents and the academy  can raise the chances of being successful in an election campaign of many talented liberal women. I really enjoyed sharing ideas and experiences with them and I am looking forward to the next edition.

You are a very busy woman, as you are also the President of the ELF member organisation NEOS Lab. Could you tell us more about the work of NEOS Lab to support the Liberal movement in Austria?

As a president of NEOS Lab I am a strong voice within the organization to promote the European idea and its ideals. As the only true pro-European party in Austria, we organize a lot of events with high profile speakers to encourage a broad spectrum of different social classes and political views to participate in the discussion about the values and further development and integration of the Union. NEOS Lab also has a liberal library with the most important liberal thinkers and supports all branches of the party with infrastructure and knowledge about liberal ideas and policy.

 

30. Oct 2017 by Intern

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