MAN TO WATCH IN EUROPE Former Archduke Otto von Hapsburg, the oldest son of the last Emperor of Austria-Hungary, has been granted West German citizenship.
The Archduke, who is 65 years old, has also received permission to keep his Austrian passport. He explained in an interview with the Austrian Broadcasting Network that he had sought West German citizenship because it offered him the opportunity to work for a unified Europe.
He also said he was interested in running for the expanded and strengthened European Parliament in its first direct elections scheduled for next year. Only citizens of the nine-member nations of the European Economic Community, or Common Market, will be eligible as candidates. Austria is not a member.
The Archduke was 6 years old when his father, Emperor Karl, was forced to addicate at the end of World War I, only two years after he had succeeded his granduncle, Emperor Franz Josef. Austria-Hungary fell apart, and its German-speaking section was proclaimed the Austrian Republic in 1918.
The long-lasting Hapsburg dynasty was, according to biblical prophecy, the fifth resurrection of the Roman Empire.
To the Austrian and West German authorities, the former Archduke is simply Dr. Otto Hapsburg. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of Louvain, Belgium. However, some elderly Hapsburg loyalists insist on addressing him as "your imperial highness" or even "your majesty."
Dr. Hapsburg renounced all claims to restoration of the monarchy in Austria in 1961, the condition set by the government before it would allow him to come home. Dr. Hapsburg visited Austria, lectured here and appeared at public functions, but he kept out of domestic politics and eventually took up residence in West Germany, at Pocking near Munich.
The former Archduke is a writer on international affairs (a regular contributor to To The Point magazine, among others.) Even more importantly, he is president of the International Pan-European Union, a movement that advocates political unification of all European countries. He is expected to be nominated for the European Parliament by the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian branch of the conservative opposition in West Germany which is led by former Defense Minist-Franz Josef Strauss.
Dr. Hapsburg is married to a German princess, Regina of Saxe-Meiningen. They have four children.
Dr. Hapsburg was granted West German citizenship last month by Bavarian authorities. The decision, though legal, has caused some criticism in Bonn among officials of the Socialist Party of Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. They were especially critical of the speed and ease with which Dr. Hapsburg obtained his citizenship. They also do not like the prospect of an "instant German," still holding another citizenship, representing German interests in the European Parliament.
There is no doubt that the admitted close relationship between Hapsburg and Strauss — Bavaria's number one politician — helped hasten the process. Strauss has praised Hapsburg as having one of the keenest political minds in Europe. In return Hapsburg, according to a report in a recent issue of Der Spiegel, considers Strauss among "the few full-blooded politicians" to whom could be entrusted, because of his "clear-sightedness," temporary but total one-man emergency power in the case of national crisis, such as with terrorist blackmail.
Der Spiegel comments that the "dainty emperor's son" (Hapsburg) and the "weighty Upper Bavarian" (Strauss) make a rather comical appearance when seen together. But it adds that the two of them seem to be a formidable pair, nonetheless, having a lot of views in common.