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

Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer visits the Ukrainian town of Bucha. Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer visits the Ukrainian town of Bucha. Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP

Nehammer faces criticism for Putin visit

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has come under fire after announcing he will be visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. 

The announcement was made just hours after Nehammer became one of the first western leaders to visit Ukraine, where he met with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky. 

READ MORE: Austrian Chancellor promises more sanctions during Kyiv visit

Speaking with German tabloid Bild, the deputy mayor of Mariupol, which has faced a weeks-long siege from Russian forces, said the visit was “not appropriate”. 

“The war crimes that Russia is currently committing on Ukrainian soil are still taking place,” Sergej Orlow said. 

“What we saw in Bucha may have been worse in Mariupol, even if the Russian army is trying to cover up the crimes. I don’t understand how it is possible to have a conversation with Putin at this time, how to do business with him.”

Nehammer said he hoped to put an end to the war with his visit, while he promised to raise the issue of war crimes. 

“As a small, neutral country, we have a high degree of credibility as an intermediary and also a good reputation as an honest broker,” Nehammer said. 

Police to intensify traffic controls across Easter

Austrian police have vowed to intensify traffic controls across Easter, monitoring speeding as well as alcohol and drug consumption. 

Road fatalities and injuries increase in Austria across the Easter period and did so even during the Covid pandemic despite widespread lockdowns. 

Warm weather on the way in Austria

Temperatures of up to 25 degrees are on the way across parts of the country this week. 

After a colder than usual start to April, the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) has forecast highs of 25 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday. 

25°C: Temperatures on the rise in Austria ahead of Easter weekend

The weather will be warmest in the west of the country, particularly in the Vienna basin. 

Warm temperatures will continue into the Easter weekend, with temperatures between 15 and 23 across the country. 

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For members


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

No more '3G' to enter Austria, swimming lakes warm up, compulsory vaccination debate returns and more news on Monday.

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

No more testing or proof of vaccination to come into Austria

From today (Monday 16 May), all testing/vaccination requirements to enter Austria will be removed. It is possible to come to Austria from all countries in the world without showing a negative test or proof of vaccination.

A new entry regulation was published last week  by the Ministry of Health. The cancellation of entry checks was justified by the current epidemiological situation.

There is still the possibility for countries to be classed as virus variant areas, however at present no country is currently on the list of these areas. Should a new virus variant emerge, the obligation to test, register and quarantine could be quickly imposed again, broadcaster ORF reports.

Austria’s lakes warm up for swimming

Warm temperatures of over 30 degrees in May mean that Austria’s swimming lakes are ready for use, with temperatures exceeding the 20-degree mark in the Alte Donau in Vienna, the Aubad Tulln and the Stubenbergsee in Styria. Some Carinthian lakes are already at 19 degrees, such as Lake Faak and Lake Pressegger, broadcaster ORF reports. 

READ MORE: The best lakes and swimming spots in Austria

Nehammer unanimously elected leader of the ÖVP

As The Local reported at the weekend, Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer has been formally elected leader of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) with 100 percent of the vote. 

The heads of the ÖVP traditionally tend to get high results in their first election as chairman. Kurz was elected party leader in 2017 with 98.7 percent of the vote. However, there has never been a 100 percent result in a first-time election until now.

READ MORE: Austria’s Nehammer formally elected party leader in unanimous vote

Compulsory vaccination law could come into force automatically in June

An ordinance suspending Austria’s compulsory vaccination law will expire at the end of May, making it possible in theory that random penalties for remaining unvaccinated could be put in place at the start of June. 

The law  was introduced in February, even though the technical requirements for it to be enacted were not in place. Before a single person was fined, the Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) suspended the law with an ordinance.

To create a new ordinance or extend the existing one stopping people from being fined, Rauch must await  the report of the vaccination commission.

This will assess from a medical and legal point of view whether the Vaccination Act is suitable and useful. In a previous report of the commission, it said there were arguments for and against mandatory vaccination for those who were completely unvaccinated.

Der Standard reports there is little political support for compulsory vaccination and says there are still technical problems regarding automated fines. According to the Ministry of Health, the infrastructure should be completed in June.


Car reduction scheme stalls 
A plan to significantly reduce traffic in Vienna’s city centre will probably not be implemented as planned in 2022. Vienna wanted to set up surveillance cameras limiting access to the city’s First District by car to residents.

At present, around 50,000 cars are registered driving in and out of the historic centre every working day. 

Der Standard newspaper reports that it has information that the new regulation will not come into force this year as planned. The necessary legislation has not been passed and there are concerns about data protection.