Today in Austria: A round-up of the latest news on Friday 

Find out what's going on today in Austria with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Cafe in the Naschmarkt

Opening steps ‘possible’ in May, says expert

Opening steps may be possible for Austria in May,  simulation expert Niki Popper has told ZIB. He said modelling showed the situation will get better “very soon”, but he would like to see infections reduce faster.

He said the lockdown in the east was working, even if the willingness to participate is decreasing, the Kurier newspaper reports. 

Memorial service for coronavirus victims to be held this morning

A memorial to honour the Austrian victims of the corona pandemic will be held later today. Austria’s Federal President Van der Bellen, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler and others will gather at 10am in Austria’s Aula der Wissenschaft science building.

Vienna starts vaccinating high risk patients in all age groups

Vienna has begun to vaccinate its high-risk patients.

Now everyone born up to 2005 can register for a jab. So far, around 129,600 high-risk patients have registered with the Vienna Vaccination Service – including people suffering from asthma or diabetes.

Of those, 64,744 people have already been vaccinated. All people in this group should receive their first injection in April, Der Standard newspaper reports.


Posted by Stadt Wien on Thursday, April 15, 2021

Third wave has passed its peak

As The Local reported yesterday  the third wave of the corona pandemic has passed its peak in Austria according to the Covid forecast consortium the Wiener Zeitung  newspaper reports. However, even if the number of new infections continues to decline, this does not mean rapid relief for intensive care units in hospitals.

READ MORE: Why experts believe Austria’s third wave of Covid ‘has peaked’

Optimism ‘has evaporated’ in Austrian companies, says Deloitte survey

Optimism has evaporated in Austrian companies, according to CEO of Deloitte Austria Harald Breit, the Wiener Zietung newspaper reports. Deloitte surveyed 250 Austrian top executives, but only 27 percent now  believe that Austria’s recovery will be “good” or “very good” in comparison to other European countries.

In summer 2020 it was 64 percent. The executives see an urgent need for action in digitisation in the health sector, public administration and education. 

Austria pays most corona aid

More than €34.6 billion euros in corona aid has been promised or paid out by the federal government so far according to Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports Significantly more aid per capita was paid out in Austria than in other EU countries, according to a study by economic institute EcoAustria. In 2020 and 2021 together, Austria used more than 10 percent of GDP into COVID relief measures. The EU average is 5.5 percent  of GDP, it reports. 

Spying allegations rejected by OMV

The board of the Austrian state-owned oil, gas and chemical company OMV has met and produced a report on allegations it used international espionage companies to monitor environmental organisations Greenpeace and Fridays for Future.

OMV admitted using companies to get information about activities of environmental NGOs, but rejects the spying allegations, saying it was only trying to protect its critical infrastructure Der Standard newspaper reports.

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EU takes action against Austria on working rights

Austria comes up short in areas such as 'transparent and predictable working conditions' and 'promotion of equality in the labour market', the EU Commission has said.

EU takes action against Austria on working rights

The EU Commission has reprimanded Austria on several labour market issues, according to a press statement by the Brussels-based authority.

Austria is lagging in properly implementing EU regulations in “transparent and predictable working conditions” and “promotion of equality in the labour market”.

After the European Union sends out directives to member states, it also sets a deadline for the countries to bring the EU-agreed rules to the national level.

READ ALSO: 10 ways EU countries aim to cut energy bills and avoid blackouts this winter

The first directive for “transparent and predictable working conditions” provides more extensive and updated labour rights and protection to the 182 million workers in the European Union.

The EU Commission stated: “With the new rules, workers have, for instance, the right to more predictability regarding assignments and working time. They will also have the right to receive timely and more complete information about the essential aspects of their job, such as place of work and remuneration”.

Austria and 18 other member states have failed to communicate the complete transposition of the directive into national law by the deadline of August 1st.

READ ALSO: 10 ways EU countries aim to cut energy bills and avoid blackouts this winter

Promotion of equality in the labour market

Additionally, Austria has failed to notify national measures transposing the “Work-Life Balance Directive” by the EU and has been notified along with 18 other countries.

The directive “aims to ensure equality in labour market participation by encouraging equal sharing of care responsibilities between parents”.

“It introduced paternity leave, ensuring that fathers/second parents have the right to take at least ten working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of the child. The Directive also establishes a minimum of four months of parental leave, with at least two of the four months non-transferable from one parent to another.

READ ALSO: Non-EU family members of EU citizens can obtain long-term residence, court rules

“It establishes five working days per year of carers’ leave for each worker providing personal care or support to a relative or person living in the same household and gives all working parents of children up to at least eight years old and all carers a right to request flexible working arrangements.”

The Austrian federal government now has two months to respond to the EU Commission’s letter of formal notice, otherwise, it faces another warning – and could eventually see its case going to the European Court of Justice.