Othmar Karas

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Othmar Karas (born December 24, 1957 in Ybbs an der Donau ) is an Austrian politician ( ÖVP ) and has been a member of the European Parliament since 1999 . In July 2019 he was elected one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament. He had already held this office from 2012 to 2014. Karas stood as the ÖVP's top candidate in the 2014 and 2019 European elections .


Karas was in 1996 at the University of Vienna , the graduation Magister phil. at the basic and integrative science faculty (main subject: political science), in 1997 at the University of St. Gallen graduated as an MBL in the field of European and international business law. In 2017 he submitted a dissertation at the University of Vienna on the subject of European Democracy - Limits and Possibilities of the European Parliament .

He became a member of the Catholic associations K.Ö.St.V. Ötscherland Scheibbs in the MKV , the K.Ö.HV Singership Waltharia Wien in the ÖCV and co-founder of the KAV Merkenstein Vienna in the EKV . In addition, he was involved as deputy regional chairman of the Lower Austrian regional association of the MKV, chairman of the board of trustees of the EKV and member of the association management of the MKV.

Political career

Karas attended the upper secondary school in Scheibbs and began his political career in 1976 as federal chairman of the Union for Higher Students (today: Student Union ). From 1979 to 1981 he was political advisor for the ÖVP. From 1980 and 1990, respectively, he was deputy chairman of the Austrian Federal Youth Council (today: Federal Youth Representation ) as well as Federal Chairman of the Young ÖVP , member of the Federal Party Executive Committee and Vice President of the Young European Christian Democrats (today: YEPP ). From 1983 to 1990 Karas was a member of the National Council . In the run-up to the occupation of the Hainburger Au in 1984, Karas was one of the participants in the animals' press conference and appeared as a cormorant .

From 1981 to 1995 he worked as an employee in the banking and insurance sector, most recently as deputy general secretary of Bundesländer-Versicherung (today: UNIQA Versicherungen AG ). After that he was general secretary of the ÖVP and member of the federal party executive until 1999.

In 1999 Karas became a member of the European Parliament . He was from 2006 to 2009 and from 2011 to 2019 head of the ÖVP - Delegation in the European Parliament.

In January 2012 he was elected one of the 14 Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament and at that time was the highest-ranking Austrian in this Parliament. He held the office for two and a half years until the end of the legislative period in June 2014. In July 2019, with 477 votes, he was re-elected to this position in the first ballot.

European Parliament

Karas has been a member of the European Parliament since 1999 . There he was a member of the Presidium and Treasurer of the EPP-ED Group from 1999 to 2004 , in which he served as economic spokesman from 2002 to 2004 and then as Vice-President and Treasurer until 2007, then as first Vice-President and Treasurer. Until 2009 he was also the chairman of the ÖVP European club and is a member of the ÖVP federal party executive. In the 2009 European elections , Ernst Strasser Karas was chosen as the top candidate. Karas clearly won the preferential voting campaign in the election , but was still not head of the delegation. It was not until April 5, 2011 that he succeeded Strasser, who resigned from his position in the European Parliament because of the lobbying affair .

Karas is a member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defense Policy and a deputy in the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament. He is also a member of the delegation for relations with Canada and deputy for relations with Japan and rapporteur on strengthening the EU statistical office Eurostat, on Basel II and on the revision of the directive on capital requirements and the central organization of assigned banks, certain components of own funds, large exposures, Supervisory regulations and crisis management.

In the 2014 European elections , Karas campaigned for the first time as the ÖVP's top candidate. He and his personal committee “Wir für Karas” did without election posters during this election campaign and largely did without the ÖVP party logo on the website. He was also the top candidate of the ÖVP in the 2019 European elections and received over 100,000 personal preferential votes.

Originally, Karoline Edtstadler was supposed to succeed him in the 9th electoral term as ÖVP delegation leader in 2020 . After his election as Vice-President of the European Parliament in July 2019, he announced that he would resign from the ÖVP delegation leadership and Edtstadler was elected as his successor.

Other activities

Since 1998 he has been President of the Austrian Aid Organization , the Robert Schuman Institute in Budapest and Vice President of the Austria International Aid Organization and the Robert Schuman Foundation. He is the founder and spokesman of the non-partisan Citizens' Forum Europe and board member of the Dr. Kurt Waldheim Foundation. Karas is also a university lecturer at the University of Vienna (Institute for Political Science).


Karas has been married to the lawyer and artist Christa Karas-Waldheim, a daughter of the late former Federal President Kurt Waldheim , since 1987 , and has one son.

honors and awards

Web links

Commons : Othmar Karas  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. mr: Othmar Karas becomes Vice President of EP News. Retrieved August 13, 2019 .
  2. derStandard.at: Karas warns of "yes / no democracy" . Article dated December 6, 2017, accessed December 10, 2017.
  3. Guest commentary: Othmar Karas. Retrieved on August 13, 2019 (German).
  4. Ernst Bezemek , Michael Dippelreiter: Political elites in Lower Austria - A Biographical Guide 1921 to the present, 2011, ISBN 978-3-205-78586-6 , page 158 [1]
  5. EU Parliament: Karas now Vice President. ORF , January 18, 2012, accessed on May 5, 2014 .
  6. Karas elected Vice-President of the EU Parliament. July 3, 2019, accessed August 13, 2019 .
  7. ^ Strasser instead of Karas: EU ticket for ex-minister. DiePresse.com , March 26, 2009, accessed May 5, 2014 .
  8. Othmar Karas: The Anti-Strasser. DiePresse.com , March 20, 2011, accessed May 5, 2014 .
  9. Election campaign: Karas opens the three-way battle. Kurier (daily newspaper) , April 25, 2014, accessed May 5, 2014 .
  10. diepresse.com: Karas will hand over the ÖVP delegation leadership in the EU Parliament in 2020 to Edtstadler . Article dated June 5, 2019, accessed June 5, 2019.
  11. Karas resigns as head of the ÖVP delegation in the EU Parliament. July 7, 2019, accessed July 7, 2019 .
  12. Edtstadler is ÖVP delegation in the European Parliament. July 13, 2019, accessed July 13, 2019 .
  13. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952. (PDF (6.9 MB)) Austrian Parliament , April 25, 2014, p. 1544 , accessed on May 5, 2014 .