Today in Austria For Members

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

Emma Midgley
Emma Midgley - [email protected] • 4 May, 2022 Updated Wed 4 May 2022 08:08 CEST
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(Photo by SAMUEL KUBANI / AFP)

Fears over Russian oil embargo, calls to end masks in shops for Mother's Day, thunderstorms looming and more news on Wednesday.

Fears from Austrian industries over energy embargo

The Federation of Austrian Industries (IV) has sounded the alarm over the EU’s plan to put an embargo in place on oil from Russia and fears this may lead to a gas embargo, which would have dramatic consequences, broadcaster ORF reports.

Coal and oil from Russia can be replaced by supplies from other countries, although this will drive up costs, according to the IV. However, the federation says there is no alternative to Russia for gas.

READ MORE: Austria throws support behind embargo of Russian oil

Demonstrations in Vienna have cost retail around 23 million euros in 2021

Regular demonstrations against pandemic measures in the centre of Vienna cost retail around  23 million euros in 2021, and meant that more than 300 jobs were lost according to the Vienna Chamber of Commerce (WK). 

Since the beginning of 2022 there have been 55 demonstrations. The WK is now demanding a reorganisation of the route and a better distribution of the demonstrations in the city, saying it is putting a strain on businesses.

As the demos mainly take place on public holidays and Saturdays, they also have a negative effect on tourism as well as cafes and restaurants, particularly for tourists visiting at the weekend, Markus Grießler, head of the tourism and leisure industry division at the Vienna Chamber of Commerce told broadcaster ORF.

Could mask requirement be scrapped in retail for Mother’s Day?

The Austrian Chamber of Commerce calling for an end to the requirement to wear masks in shops in time for Mother’s Day, which falls this weekend on May 8th. 

"Next Sunday offers an occasion to celebrate not only for mothers, but also for the domestic trade. And such an occasion is more than welcome after a good two years of Corona plus new uncertainties," Rainer Trefelik, Chairman of the Federal Trade Division in the Austrian Economic Chamber (WKÖ) said in the newspaper Heute.

Thunderstorms predicted across Austria

A weather warning is in place throughout Austria for thunderstorms on Wednesday with the exception of Carinthia. Vienna is likely to be particularly affected by, especially in the districts of Baden, Wiener-Neustadt and Lilienfeld, the newspaper Heute reports.

Bread, milk and oil prices are rising sharply in Austria

The prices of bread, milk and oil have risen particularly sharply in Austria, and are expected to continue to rise, Gabriel Felbermayr, head of the Economic Research Institute (WIFO) has told broadcaster ORF. Both consumers and farmers are suffering, due to the rising prices for energy and fertilisers.

However, Minister of Agriculture Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) says Austria’s food supply is secure, saying that Austria plans to strengthen food production and self-sufficiency. According to the minister around 90 percent of staple foods are produced in Austria.

The managing director of the Austrian trade association, Rainer Will, defended rising prices in supermarkets saying at present only a fifth of the price increases were being passed on to customers.

In response to the higher prices Austria has put back plans to enforce labelling for meat, milk and eggs showing the origin of raw materials to 2023, Der Standard newspaper reports, in order to keep costs lower.

Funding of 6.5 million euros up for grabs in Vienna for climate projects 

The City of Vienna will provide 6.5 million euros this year to districts which can show great ideas to make their area more climate friendly, in the hope of emulating cities such as Paris. The funding will be made available  for three districts per year.

Online submissions are possible until June 6th. The idea must have a positive impact on the climate and the City of Vienna must be able to implement it within two years. Both individuals and groups can participate. There is more information here.

READ MORE: 'Cool streets': How Vienna is preparing for climate change and heatwaves

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Emma Midgley 2022/05/04 08:08

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