Austria’s Federal President, Alexander Van der Bellen, a well-known dog lover, had an unpleasant incident during his visit to Moldova when he was bitten by Moldovan President Maia Sandu’s dog. When he tried to pet the three-legged animal, the animal apparently became nervous and snapped. According to Moldovan media reports, the 79-year-old was then treated and given a plaster.
Sandu took in the stray who lost a leg in an accident – and gave him the name Codrut. The Austrian star presenter Armin Wolf tweeted after the bite: “Dangerous state visit!”
Van der Bellen assures Moldova of support for EU accession
Van der Bellen actually didn’t want to pet dogs during his visit, but instead wanted to express his support for Moldova’s future accession to the EU, reports “Oe24”. At a press conference, he stressed that the future of Moldova lies in “a larger Europe” and that his visit should be “a sign of solidarity in a difficult geopolitical situation.” Maia Sandu saw this as a “strong message of support”.
Van der Bellen also touched on the difficult circumstances Moldova is currently facing, particularly the threat of war in Ukraine and Russia’s attempts to destabilize the country. Russia tried to use gas deliveries as leverage, but Moldova managed to overcome this challenge.
The Austrian Federal President has more powers than the German head of state
The Austrian Federal President and the German Federal President have both similarities and differences in their roles and functions. Both are non-partisan, representative heads of state who have more ceremonial roles and therefore have less political power than heads of government. They symbolize the unity of their nations and represent them abroad.
A key difference lies in the choice. While the Austrian Federal President is elected directly by the people for a term of six years, the German Federal President is elected by the Federal Assembly for five years. This reflects different political traditions and understandings of democracy.
Both presidents have the right to dissolve parliament, although this right is subject to stricter conditions in Germany. In Austria, the Federal President can also appoint or dismiss the Federal Chancellor and, at his suggestion, the other members of the government, while in Germany the Federal Chancellor is elected by the Bundestag and the President only makes a formal appointment.