Erhard Busek

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Person.png Erhard Busek   Amazon IMDB Powerbase SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Erhard Busek.jpg
Born25 March 1941
Vienna, Austria
Died13 March 2022
Alma materUniversity of Vienna
Member ofEuropean Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, Trilateral Commission
PartyAustrian People's Party
Attended the 1981 Bilderberg as chairman of the Vienna’s People’s Party. Later Vice-Chancellor of Austria for 4 years. Chairman of European Forum Alpbach.

Erhard Busek was an Austrian politician from the Christian-conservative People's Party (ÖVP). Throughout his political career, he was widely regarded as one of the leaders of the party's liberal wing.[1]

He was a member of the Trilateral Commission and Chairman of the European Forum Alpbach "connecting international decision-makers from all sectors of society". He is a member of George Soros's European Council on Foreign Relations. He attended the 1982 Bilderberg meeting.

Busek was chief of the party and Vice-Chancellor of Austria in the coalition of the Social Democratic Party of Austria with the People's Party between 1991 and 1995 and was an important reformer of the Austrian universities. From January 2002 until June 2008 Busek served as Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, the final person to hold the position. He was coordinator of the South-Eastern Cooperative Initiative (SECI) and chairman of the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe.

Early life and education

Busek earned his Doctor of Laws at the University of Vienna in 1963.[2] During his studies, he also served as Chairman of the Austrian Youth Council. He was a Roman Catholic. He was a Boy Scout in his youth.[3][4]

Political career

Busek began his professional career in 1964 as legal adviser to the association of the parliamentarians of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). He then served as Secretary General of the Austrian Federation for Trade and Commerce (1968–1975). In 1975 he was appointed Secretary General of the Austrian People’s Party and was elected Member of Parliament later that year. Busek gained additional experience in administration between 1968 and 1976 while with a publishing firm in the economic field. In 1976 Busek entered municipal politics. He was City Councilor and was elected Deputy-Mayor of Vienna in 1978, a position he held until 1987. He was appointed Minister for Science and Research in April 1989. From 1994 until May 1995 Busek was Minister for Education.

Vice-Chancellor of Austria, 1991–1995

Busek was elected Chairman of the Austrian People’s Party in 1991 and served as Vice-Chancellor of Austria in the government of Chancellor Franz Vranitzky from 1991 to 1995. In this position, he argued in favor of recognizing the independence of the Yugoslav republic of Slovenia, a move that would have put Austria outside the Western consensus on the issue.[5] The government lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament in the 1994 elections that gave increased support to Jörg Haider, a right-wing leader known for his anti-immigrant speeches.[6] However, both Vranitzky and Busek negotiated to continue their coalition and to lead Austria into the European Union in 1995.

At the April 1995 party congress, Wolfgang Schüssel took over the ÖVP chairmanship in a coup succeeding Busek and replacing the party’s ministers in the governing coalition.[7] Following his departure from the Austrian government, Busek was tipped as rector of the College of Europe in Bruges, the training ground for EU officials and diplomats, and as being the preferred choice of then President of the European Commission Jacques Santer for the post; the job instead went to Otto von der Gablentz.[8]

Role in European politics, 2000–2009

In early 2000 Busek was appointed Special Representative of the Austrian Government on EU Enlargement by Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel. He served in that position until December 2001. From January 2002 until June 2008, Busek was the Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, succeeding Bodo Hombach in this Brussels-based position. During his time in office, he pressed for EU membership for the Western Balkan countries before Turkey’s accession to the Union.[9]

In 2009, Busek served as an adviser to the Czech EU presidency.

Other activities

Busek has delivered many lectures on domestic and foreign topics and has participated in many conferences in Austria and abroad. He received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Kraków, of Bratislava, of Brasov and Czernowitz, of Liberec and the Webster-St. Louis University Vienna. He was vice-chancellor of the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg, Visiting Professor at Duke University, NC, USA, and at the University of Agriculture in Vienna. He was also teaching at the University Innsbruck and the University of Vienna. In addition his lectures are planned to be involved in the teaching programme of the Vienna University of Technology (Technische Universität Wien) and the University of Belgrade, Serbia.

Since 2008, Busek has been advising the Economic Initiative for Kosovo on promoting foreign direct investments in Kosovo.[10]

In addition, Busek has held paid and unpaid positions, including:

Every year Busek and Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General, award the annual Erhard Busek SEEMO Award for Better Understanding in South East Europe, in collaboration with the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) in Vienna.

Busek has received awards and decorations from Poland, Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria, Liechtenstein, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. He was Honorary Senator of the Medical University of Innsbruck and was laureate of the Corvinus-Prize of the Europa Institute Budapest.[14]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/198214 May 198216 May 1982Norway
The 30th Bilderberg, held in Norway.


  1. James M. Markham (12 June 1986), Waldheim Pledges Fight Against Bias The New York Times.
  3. Eingeschlagene Pfade". Skills-100 Jahre Pfadfinder.Magazin zum Abenteuer des Lebens. (in Deutsch). Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Österreichs und Monopol Verlag: 104–105. 2007.
  4. Kati Kieser; Lisa Niederdorfer (2010). "Dabei gewesen". Skills-Pfadfinderinnen und Aussen.Magazin zum Abenteuer des Lebens. (in Deutsch). Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Österreichs und Monopol Verlag: 66–67.
  5. Henry Kamm (19 July 1991), Looking Back and Ahead, Austrian Wins 2 Points The New York Times.
  6. Governing Coalition of Austria Loses Strength to Rightist Party The New York Times, 10 October 1994.
  7. Top drawer European Voice, 22 July 1998.
  8. Busek tipped for college post European Voice, 8 November 1995.
  9. Andrew Beatty (11 January 2006), ‘Balkan states should join before Turkey’ European Voice.
  11. Governance Europaeum.
  12. Erhard Busek wird Präsident des EU-Russland-Zentrums Der Standard, 31 March 2010.
  13. Erhard Busek wird Präsident des EU-Russland-Zentrums Der Standard, 31 March 2010.
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