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

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
People make their way in pedal boats on the Old Danube (Alte Donnau) (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Find out what's going on in Austria on Friday with The Local's short roundup of today's news.

Austria’s ruling coalition party rejects calls for easier path to citizenship

The centre-right ÖVP party, which is in Austria’s ruling coalition along with the Greens, has rejected calls from the centre-left opposition SPÖ party to make it easier for people to become Austrian citizens, Der Standard newspaper reports.

ÖVP Integration minister Susanne Raab said the proposal, which suggested a legal right to naturalisation after six years of legal residence was “completely wrong” and would allow more than half a million people to be naturalised “ in one fell swoop”.

Austria has some of the toughest citizenship requirements in the world, meaning for example, every third person in Vienna, for example, is not allowed to vote for lack of citizenship.

READ MORE: 

Seven day incidence at 25

The seven-day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 25.3. All federal states are now under 50 – with Burgenland (10.9) having the lowest and Tyrol (39.6) the highest.

Austria’s coronavirus traffic light commission says the Austria is now low risk

Austria’s coronavirus traffic light commission has put the entire country into yellow-green, or low risk status. Only Tyrol and Vorarlberg remain yellow (medium-risk). Despite the openings, the numbers continue to decline almost everywhere. The development in Burgenland remains particularly favourable.

This state could even move into the green traffic light category. This would mean it was a very low risk state, with a maximum of five new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, broadcaster ORF reports.

READ MORE: What is Austria’s new five-colour Covid traffic light system?

Gyms hurting after pandemic 

Fitness studios and gyms in Austria are hurting due to the coronavirus pandemic, and have lost around 25 to 30 percent of their regular customers as a result of the lockdowns, broadcaster ORF reports.

“It will take two years to reach the pre-Corona level again,” according to WKÖ branch spokesman and fitness centre operator Christian Hörl. A wave of bankruptcies in the sector is expected when short-term work ends. The sector was booming before the pandemic, ORF notes.

Impeachment fails

Austrian opposition parties SPÖ, FPÖ, and NEOS failed to secure a majority to start an impeachment procedure against Finance Minister Blümel for late delivery of evidence to the parliamentary inquiry into the Ibiza scandal Der Standard newspaper reports.

Government parties ÖVP and Greens successfully used their majority in the National Council’s constitutional affairs committee to reject the motion, the newspaper adds.

READ MORE: Austrian minister’s home raided in casino corruption probe

Styria lagging behind with vaccinations

The governor of Styria Hermann Schützenhöfer (ÖVP) has said he would like to make vaccination against Covid-19 compulsory for kindergarten staff, although this is not allowed by Austria’s constitution, in an interview with the Wiener Zeitung newspaper. He says vaccination fatigue has set in in the state and registrations have decreased. So far 560,000 of 1.1 million eligible Styrians have received their first jab and 227,000 both jabs.

The Ministry of Health’s vaccination dashboard shows that Styria, with 50.9 percent of those who can be vaccinated, is just below the Austrian average of 51.5 percent.

Austria praised for recognising intersex citizens and fighting online hatred

Austria has been praised for including birth certificates with the gender designation “inter” and for measures to fight online hatred in the annual report of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency FRA, published on Thursday. 

In December, the National Council passed measures against “online hatred” which are intended to make it easier for victims to take action against authors of hate postings.

In July 2020, Alex Jürgen was the first person in Austria to receive a birth certificate with the gender designation “inter” having been born  in 1976 with underdeveloped male sexual organs. 

Since September 2020, in addition to “male”, “female” and “diverse” entries as “inter”, “open” and “no entry” have been possible in the civil status register, as the FRA report also notes.


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