The SPÖ politician made fun of the brochure “The Conference on the Future of Europe in Austria” published by Edstadler’s ministry on Wednesday in the Bundesrat. His criticism focused on the brochure’s design, not its content. In doing so, he chose words and a mocking tone of voice that he later found embarrassing himself.
“You don’t lack a certain self-confidence. I don’t say that pointedly, but really appreciatively,” Schennach explained at first. He continued, less appreciatively, “I have read your brochure carefully. And then I thought, I’ve noticed something. And then I started counting: 62 photos of the Federal Minister. What impressed me is not only the breadth of her wardrobe but also that her dog made it in.”
Then the social democrat added jokingly: “If you do something like this, you apply for another function. I would say it’s an application, but it’s ok.”
Karoline Edtstadler then entered the lectern herself: “I would like to express my personal disappointment with the way she received her speech,” she emphasized. “What I find offensive is that you reflect on the breadth of my wardrobe. And that unfortunately shows how women are treated in politics.”
After that, the ÖVP minister became even sharper: “I’ve never heard from anyone what color the tie is and whether the choice of jacket is lighter or darker. And I would like to take this as an opportunity to make a clear statement that women are treated differently in politics than men.”
Edstadler added: “I didn’t actually expect that from you.” Regarding the images, she said: “If you travel a lot, photos are taken and we only included a part in this report. European municipal councils are also shown.”
Schennach’s words were uncomfortable afterwards. He apologized: “There are no remarks in my speeches about the wardrobe and I would like to offer you my sincere apologies. That was not right and I hope you can accept this apology.”