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

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
The sun rises over the mountains and the valley of the river Inn near the small Austrian village of Telfs, Austria. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)
Find out what's going on in Austria on Tuesday with The Local's short roundup of today's news.

Digital green pass to launch at the end of this week

Austria’s Covid digital green pass using a QR code is to be implemented at the end of this week – but will initially not include an option for vaccinated people, the Ministry of Health has told APA.

No date has been given for when vaccinated people will be included in the passport.

Digital proof of vaccination can already be created and downloaded from the electronic vaccination pass using a mobile phone signature or citizen card at www.gesundheit.gv.at, the Ministry said.

The Ministry also confirmed the digital green pass will be valid across the EU from July 1st.

READ MORE: Austria to implement nationwide immunity card by mid-May

Pandemic ‘can be considered over’

Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen said “The pandemic as we have experienced it can be considered over,” on Monday, Der Standard newspaper reports.

The statement followed a meeting with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella in Rome. He warned against vaccine-resistant mutations of the virus, but said recent experiences gave hope that vaccines would also be found quickly against them.

New leader for far right FPÖ party

As The Local reported yesterday, the FPÖ party leadership unanimously decided on June 7th to propose FPÖ parliamentary group leader Herbert Kickl as the party’s new leader, following the resignation of Norbert Hofer. Party members will vote on the decision during a conference to be held on June 19th.

Chancellor Kurz’s ÖVP and opposition parties SPÖ and NEOS have criticised the FPÖ’s selection of Kickl as a sign that the party is moving further to the right, Die Presse newspaper reports. 

READ MORE: Austria’s far-right party nominates Kickl as new leader

People in their twenties could get their first jab at the end of July

People in their twenties could be getting their first vaccinations by the end of July or beginning of August, according to Susanne Drapalik, the President of the Workers’ Samaritan Association in Vienna, believes according to broadcaster ORF.

Seven day incidence is 28

The 7-day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 27.8. With the exception of Vorarlberg (53.6), all federal states are below 50 – with Salzburg (13.6) and Burgenland (10.2) having the lowest values.

Outdoor parties

The City of Vienna is meeting with a panel of young people on Tuesday to discuss how to deal with the impromptu parties which have sprung up around the city following the easing of lockdown. Clubs and discos have been closed for months in Vienna, prompting a series of outdoor parties.

Last weekend restrictions were put in place around the city’s Karlskirche after police had to disperse revellers.

The Deputy Mayor Christoph Wiederkehr (NEOS) has called the meeting which will include representatives of the city, the police, youth organisations and youth work as well as representatives of club culture.

The Vienna Social and Health Councillor Peter Hacker said many of the party goers had kept to mask and distance rules, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Chair of Öbag, Thomas Schmid, resigns after controversial chat messages

The chair of the supervisory board of  Öbag, Thomas Schmid, has resigned. Öbag is an organisation which looks after investments on behalf of the Republic of Austria. The cause of the resignation is believed to be recently published chats by Thomas Schmid, Der Standard newspaper reports.

Schmid is also stepping down from all supervisory board positions held for Öbag in affiliated companies. In the chats, which were written before he took up the Öbag post, Schmid said to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz “I love my Chancellor” and told Finance Minister Gernot Blümel that “he was family”. In more recently published chats, he criticised the employees of the state holding company and said he wanted to dismantle the works council.

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Short-time work to be phased out

The Austrian government and unions jointly presented an agreement about the gradual phasing out of short-time work during a press conference on June 7th, broadcaster ORF reports. The agreement continues the short-time labour scheme largely unchanged until the end of the year for businesses experiencing a revenue reduction of at least 50 percent. Less severely affected businesses will qualify for the scheme if their employees are at work at least 50 percent of their usual hours. Finance Minister Blümel has stated he expects the number of people in short-time labour to fall from 330,000 to around 100,000 by the end of the summer.

Household debt grows

The Austrian National Bank ÖNB has announced it intends to “keep a close eye” on mortgage lending as household debt in 2020 showed the highest growth rate in 15 years Der Standard newspaper reports.

ÖNB does not currently see a threat to financial stability but is advising mortgage lenders to maintain standards involving a minimum deposit of 20 percent.


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