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ECONOMY

The essential products that are getting more expensive in Austria

Record inflation spikes have caused basic supermarket products to become more expensive in the alpine country.

The essential products that are getting more expensive in Austria
Prices are rising in Austrian supermarkets (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

Austria has been suffering from the high cost of living prices, and inflation for April is expected to reach 7.2 percent, according to a preliminary estimate by Statistik Austria.

Compared to the previous month, the price level is expected to rise by 0.3 percent, the federal statistics office said.

“Life in Austria continues to become noticeably more expensive. In addition to the continuing inflation-determining price increases for fuels and energy products, food also has an additional price-increasing effect,” said Statistik Austria Director-General Tobias Thomas.

READ ALSO: Austria unveils €2 billion relief package to fight the rising cost of living

The increases are very much reflected in supermarket prices.

According to Statistik Austria, oils and fats have had the highest price increases (13.3 per cent in a year on year comparison), followed by vegetable prices (9 per cent in a year on year comparison).

Bread and cereal prices were up by 7.2 per cent, and milk, cheese and eggs prices rose by 5.5 per cent.

Fruits have also been costing 4.7 per cent more in March 2022 than in March 2021. In addition, meat, which is already an expensive product for Austrians, has increased in price by 4.1 per cent.

There were also substantial price increases for non-alcoholic beverages, particularly coffee, which rose 12.3 per cent.

Why is inflation so high?

Prices are rising worldwide, not just in Austria. And much of it has to do with the Russian war on Ukraine, which brings up fuel prices and affects the entire supply chain of several products on supermarket shelves.

However, that is not the only factor.

READ ALSO: Will inflation force tax changes in Austria from 2023?

A special IHS Markit report on food inflation stated that the Russian invasion is just the most recent event exacerbating food inflation, especially as both countries are significant exporters of grains and vegetable oils.

Another factor for rising prices is competition with Chinese demand for feedstuffs such as soybeans, corn, sorghum, wheat and other grains.

Production and logistics issues have also impacted prices globally. For example, adverse weather in Brazil affected the production of corn, soybean, and even coffee.

In addition, transportation issues and even Covid-related labour shortages have also hindered production and logistics and increased prices.

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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

EU takes action against Austria on working rights

Austria comes up short in areas such as 'transparent and predictable working conditions' and 'promotion of equality in the labour market', the EU Commission has said.

EU takes action against Austria on working rights

The EU Commission has reprimanded Austria on several labour market issues, according to a press statement by the Brussels-based authority.

Austria is lagging in properly implementing EU regulations in “transparent and predictable working conditions” and “promotion of equality in the labour market”.

After the European Union sends out directives to member states, it also sets a deadline for the countries to bring the EU-agreed rules to the national level.

READ ALSO: 10 ways EU countries aim to cut energy bills and avoid blackouts this winter

The first directive for “transparent and predictable working conditions” provides more extensive and updated labour rights and protection to the 182 million workers in the European Union.

The EU Commission stated: “With the new rules, workers have, for instance, the right to more predictability regarding assignments and working time. They will also have the right to receive timely and more complete information about the essential aspects of their job, such as place of work and remuneration”.

Austria and 18 other member states have failed to communicate the complete transposition of the directive into national law by the deadline of August 1st.

READ ALSO: 10 ways EU countries aim to cut energy bills and avoid blackouts this winter

Promotion of equality in the labour market

Additionally, Austria has failed to notify national measures transposing the “Work-Life Balance Directive” by the EU and has been notified along with 18 other countries.

The directive “aims to ensure equality in labour market participation by encouraging equal sharing of care responsibilities between parents”.

“It introduced paternity leave, ensuring that fathers/second parents have the right to take at least ten working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of the child. The Directive also establishes a minimum of four months of parental leave, with at least two of the four months non-transferable from one parent to another.

READ ALSO: Non-EU family members of EU citizens can obtain long-term residence, court rules

“It establishes five working days per year of carers’ leave for each worker providing personal care or support to a relative or person living in the same household and gives all working parents of children up to at least eight years old and all carers a right to request flexible working arrangements.”

The Austrian federal government now has two months to respond to the EU Commission’s letter of formal notice, otherwise, it faces another warning – and could eventually see its case going to the European Court of Justice.

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