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

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

Funding is available for cross border projects around Lake Constance (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)
Funding is available for cross border projects around Lake Constance (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Plans to vaccinate 12 to 15 year-olds in Vienna

Parents in Vienna will soon be able to register their children aged 12 to 15 for a Covid-19 vaccination, Health Councillor Peter Hacker has told Der Standard newspaper.

If the Pfizer Biontech vaccine is approved for this age group by the European Medicine Agency (EMA), they could even start vaccinating this group before the summer.

Vienna is currently last in the league table of vaccinations in a comparison of Austria’s federal states, but says this is because it has vaccinated many residents of Burgenland and Lower Austria.

It is currently negotiating with the federal government over the 60,000 vaccination doses it says it is “missing”. 

Scandal surrounding Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz continues

The scandal surrounding Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz continue, with Der Standard newspaper covering claims that public prosecutors suspect Chancellor Kurz made false statements at the parliamentary inquiry into the Ibiza scandal.

The newspaper says chat messages between Kurz and others seem to indicate Kurz was closely involved in appointing Thomas Schmid as CEO of Austria Holdings, a holding company managing state shares in various companies, despite Kurz saying the contrary at the inquiry.

Der Standard writes that the success of any indictment against Kurz depends on the ability to prove whether the false statement was premeditated.

READ MORE: Austria’s chancellor facing investigation over false statement to MPs

Seven day incidence at 83.2 

The AGES database reports 933 Covid-19 cases have been reported in the past 24 hours. The seven-day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants,  fell to 83.2 cases.The new infections are broken down into the federal states as follows:

  • Burgenland: 17
  • Carinthia: 67
  • Lower Austria: 134
  • Upper Austria: 155
  • Salzburg: 87
  • Styria: 137
  • Tyrol: 99
  • Vorarlberg: 71
  • Vienna: 166

Austria ‘likely to resist’ cash 

Austria is likely to resist the European Commission’s drive to impose an upper limit of €10,000 on cash payments because the country is culturally attached to cash, Der Standard newspaper reports, using the motto “only cash is true” (“Nur Bares ist Wahres“). 

Finance Minister Gernot Blümel said he would not accept “a creeping abolition of cash” and noted cash remains “the most important and preferred method of payment, especially in Austria”.

The Austrian National Bank indicates that 79 percent of payments in Austria are cash-based, which is above the EU average of 73 percent.

READ MORE: Could coronavirus end Austria’s love affair with cash?

Green Party calls for 30 km/h limit in Vienna

Vienna’s Green Party is calling for the city to copy Spain’s example and set all the speed limits to 30 km/h. Spain is the first country in the EU in which the regular speed in local areas has been reduced from 50 to 30 km/h across the country, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports. 

Funding for cross border projects

Funding for cross border projects close to Lake Constance  is available, with applications being accepted until the end of May, broadcaster ORF reports.

Private individuals, associations, schools, kindergartens and other institutions can submit applications – for example for projects in the fields of culture and education, sport or the environment.

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Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Authorities looking to curb illegal racing, energy prices rising, traffic expected ahead of the extended weekend and more news from Austria on Friday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Vienna wants to take action against speeding drivers

The City of Vienna is looking for ways to deal with illegal races across its street, especially in its 19th-Döbling district, where accidents happen too often, daily Der Standard reported.

Some measures have already been taken, including adding concrete guard walls in parking lots where racers meet and adding a 30km/h speed zone.

Now, Viennese authorities want changes in laws at a federal level, specifically a way to legally confiscate cars in cases of serious infractions or multiple offences.

READ ALSO: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

Rising energy costs

Austrian households paid 45 percent more for energy in June than in the same month the year before, Die Presse says. The prices of fuels, heating oil and gas have risen sharply. Wood pellets and firewood are also more expensive.

When it comes to electricity and gas, many providers are also increasing prices.

In addition to the gas crisis, other factors also affected the price of electricity: drought in large parts of Europe reduces production in river power plants. Besides that, many nuclear power plants are not in operation due to technical defects; others have to be throttled because the rivers used for cooling lead were either too warm or had too little water.

“The high prices are a signal for diversification towards more wind power, photovoltaics, and geothermal energy and at the same time, more energy efficiency and energy saving”, Austria’s Energy Agency said.

READ ALSO: Cost of living: Austria’s postal service announces prices increases

Austria wants to reopen its embassy in Baghdad

Austria is looking to reopen its embassy in Iraq by September 1st, daily Kurier reported. The Austrian ambassador left Baghdad in January 1991, with other Western diplomats, due to security reasons.

According to the Kurier, the embassy in Baghdad is now to be “housed in a protected, international area as a first step”, with security forces hired locally. The authorities believe permanent representation in the country will be a “decisive advantage” for Austrian companies and organisations.

Additionally, a specific officer in the embassy should inform Vienna of “current developments and the prevailing situation in Iraq” and, in particular, any news on the topic of migration.

READ ALSO: MAP: Who are the foreigners in Austria?

Traffic and troubles for the extended weekend ahead

Austria’s ÖAMTC expects heavy travel on the country’s transit routes ahead of the long weekend and warned motorists to expect traffic jams and queues by the borders.

The transport club said many travellers continue to drive south while some are already driving in the opposite direction returning from vacation. The extended weekend due to the Monday holiday (Mariä Himmelfahrt) also favours day trips and short breaks, especially with the nice weather forecast.

The worst traffic should be divided into Sunday and Monday, ÖAMTC warns.

READ ALSO: ‘Bad and hasty drivers’: Your verdict on scrapping Austrian autobahn speed limits

Heat and thunderstorms this Friday in Austria

Though the day starts sunny in most of Austria, the afternoon should bring showers and thunderstorms, especially above the mountains. In the east, it should be more stable and sunny, Austria’s meteorologic agency ZAMG said. Afternoon temperatures will be between 22C and 27C.

During the evening hours, the rain will subside and dry weather generally prevails. Low temperatures will be between 8C and 17C.

“In Vienna, sunny weather prevails, even if clouds seem denser. Short rains cannot be ruled out”, ZAMG says. Afternoon temperatures will be around 27C. The night will be around 16C.

READ ALSO: Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms