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Austria Update March 2016 –  From LI Austria contact Andrew Tomlinson 

March in Austria
Dear LI members
I would like to start of by answering a question asked of me by a member here in Austria, unlike JC at Prime Ministers question time I will not give the name, the question was why should I become a part of a LI branch here in Austria. It is a good question, I hope that this opens discussion in the wider LI movement.
As it is I did reply to the member, but it was not a good one, I used common rhetoric on how as a group we can change things for the better, but really what can we do within the LI that can be of significance. On the surface it looks like we are just a discussion group, and lets face it that is no better than going to the local pub and discussing politics with your friends. I have been mulling this question over and over trying to come up with an answer better than my not very good answer. Well I have come up with some questions of me own, why did I volunteer to be the Labour contact for Austria, what do I want to achieve in this role, and for what reason do I think the Labour party can be of influence for me in Austria.
Why did I volunteer to be the Labour contact for Austria
I believe in the Idea of the EU and I want to see it grow into a new idea of individual states acting as a union, similar to a trade union in which the individual nation is represented by one collective voice on the world stage, and within that collective the nations individuality is protected. As EU members living in Austria, and also in the rest of the EU we can channel a better discussion for the BLP on how to direct policy on the EU, we are the best source of information because we have first hand knowledge of the respective counties we live in, and that is a great resource.
What do I want to achieve in this role
Well without the support of fellow members and the support of LI and the BLP I am just whistling in the wind, if you are an Austrian member of LI you need to know if I am dedicated to this position, I tell you I question myself to, but I am in this for the longer term unless you would like a change. What I personally want is:
We have no representation as UK citizens working in Europe, after 15 years the only elections we can vote in are the local and European elections , as labour supporter and a UK citizen I would like to see representation not only within the Labour Party for our position, but representation in the UK parliament with one or two MP’s elected by UK citizens residing in the EU, and they should represent us in the UK parliament and protect our rights in the EU.
What reason do I think the Labour party can be of influence for us in Austria.
Well already I think that has been answered, It looks as if at least one major shadow cabinet minister is willing after the referendum to come and meet with the SPÖ in Vienna, and that was through my efforts meeting with representatives of the SPÖ and the help of LI, I am hoping this could be the start of Anglo/Austrian socialists interactions. If we had a LI branch here in Austria it would give us a say, because if the SPÖ are interested in me, imagine as a branch, we would have mush better diverse ideas, and I am sure with the knowledge you all have pooled together can alongside the SPÖ, not only help to foster a socialist union between the BLP and the SPÖ but also in the greater EU context.
If any member of Li would like to comment please send your emails to the link bellow.
News from Austrian
It Has been reported in the Friedl News that the  free-trade agreement with the USA (TTIP) will not be finalized under the Obama Presidency.

Presidential elections will be between 24 April/22 May 2016

So hope you have had a nice Easter and I will be in touch at the end of April
Best wishes Andy
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