A classic, conservative career diplomat «kleinezeitung.at

by time news

The current ambassador in Paris worked in the office of ÖVP Foreign Minister Schüssel from 1995 to 2000. From 2013 to 2018, as Secretary General, he was the highest-ranking civil servant in the BMEIA.

3.44 p.m., October 11, 2021

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Michael Linhart at the inauguration © APA/BMEIA/MICHAEL GRUBER

Austria’s new Foreign Minister Michael Linhart is hardly known to the general public; in the diplomatic service he is well known as a conservative veteran. The graying 63-year-old is a classic career diplomat from the correctly pulled crown to the sole. Since he also worked as a foreign policy advisor from 1995 to 2000 in the cabinet of the then ÖVP foreign minister and later Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, this is his political home clearly defined.

This is also due to the fact that, according to an Internet entry, he has been a member of the Catholic student association KHV Babenberg Vienna in the Austrian Cartell Association since 1977. Just like his predecessor, Alexander Schallenberg, who had advanced to become Federal Chancellor Linhart was practically born with diplomacy. He saw the light of day in Ankara on August 31, 1958, because his father was stationed in the Turkish capital as a diplomat.

Classic career in the foreign service

Most recently, Michael Linhart had been ambassador to Paris since 2018; before that, he had held the office of Secretary General in the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA) from 2013, so he was the highest-ranking official in the BMEIA at the time. Until then, after completing his Matura in Feldkirch (Vorarlberg) (1976) and completing a law degree (doctorate 1985) have had a classic but steep career in the foreign service.

In 1986 Linhart joined the Foreign Ministry and worked in several departments (OSCE, consular affairs, multilateral economic policy) and at the embassy in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). Allocations to the embassies in Syria (1988-1992) and Croatia (1992-1995) followed.

After working in the office of ÖVP Minister Schüssel, Linhart advanced to become Austrian himself Ambassador to the Syrian capital Damascus (2000-2003). At that time, according to media reports, he also emerged as an advocate for operations by the armed forces in the Middle East. The international peace operations are “an essential foreign policy visiting card,” he commented on the involvement of Austrian soldiers on the Golan to monitor the separation agreement between Israel and Syria. The operation was ended in 2013 due to an escalation of violence in the buffer zone.

From 2003 to 2007, Linhart took over the management of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the agency for Austrian development cooperation in the Foreign Office. “New accents were set, especially in economic cooperation,” said Linhart. Among other things, corporate partnerships have been put on track under his aegis.

From 2007 to 2012 Linhart was as Ambassador sent to Athensrather he was appointed head of the section for development cooperation and international development policy in Vienna. From December 2, 2013, Linhart was Secretary General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, under the FPÖ Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl (2017-2019), he was replaced by Johannes Peterlik. As a result, he took up the post of Austrian ambassador in Paris in the summer of 2018.

Private life

Of course, Linhart also leads a private life apart from his career. According to the BMEIA, his wife is a middle school professor and he has two daughters (Anna and Agnes) and a son (Johannes). His brother Markus Linhart (ÖVP), who is around a year younger, is also dyed in turquoise-black wool. From 1998 to 2020 he was mayor of Vorarlberg’s state capital Bregenz. In his private life, the man from Voralberg likes to be out and about in the mountains and likes to ride.

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