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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Austria's foreign minister predicts EU oil embargo in a few days, Red Cross criticises Austria for not meeting UN aid targets, horse-drawn carriages could disappear from Vienna and more news on Tuesday.

A Fiaker hackney carriage drives past the Hotel Palais Coburg,
Could Vienna's horse drawn carriages leave the city? (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

Austria’s foreign minister expects EU oil embargo decision ‘in next few days’

The EU has put its oil embargo of Russia on hold due to Hungary requesting billions of euros in exchange for its support. Austria’s Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) has said he expects an agreement “in the next few days”.

A “certain need for discussion” is “very clear”, and not all states are equally badly affected, said Schallenberg, according to broadcaster ORF. He said the EU should appear united as “Russia is watching us”. 

Red Cross criticises Austria for not meeting UN targets for development spending

The Red Cross has criticised Austria’s federal government for not spending more on development aid. In addition, Austria has not decided its development programme for 2022-24, although this should have been in place by the end of 2021, broadcaster ORF reports.

Despite emergency aid to Ukraine of 42 million euros and the increase in the foreign disaster fund to 60 million euros, Austria is “still far away” from the UN target of spending 0.7 percent of its economic power on development cooperation. According to the Red Cross’s Secretary General Michael Opriesnig, Austria is currently at 0.31 percent of gross national income (GNI). 

‘Out of date’: Possible ban on Vienna’s horse drawn carriages 

The debate over Vienna’s ‘fiaker’ or horse drawn carriages, has begun again as temperatures in the capital have started to head above 30 degrees. Currently the horses are not allowed to work when the temperatures rise over 35 degrees, and there are plans to lower the upper temperature requirement to 30 degrees.

Animal protection minister Johannes Rauch (Greens), wants to ban the horse drawn carriages from the city, and told ORF’s Vienna Today programme that he thought the horse-drawn carriages in the city were “a bit out of date”.

Violence protection centres ask for right to exchange data without consent of client

A violence prevention centre in Salzburg, called “Jugend am Werk” is calling for the rules on data sharing to be changed after a 41-year-old stabbed his ex wife on Friday in Piesendorf (Pinzgau).

The man had been in contact with Jugend am Werk after his victim reported him, and he was banned from entering her home. The ban required him to take part in a mandatory six-hour violence prevention consultation and the 41-year-old had an initial interview at the advice centre in Zell am See on May 4th. 

The consultant had suggested the centre should take part in a a security police case conference to discuss the 41-year-old and had talked about it with the local police, however, as he did not consent to his data being released, it was not possible for the  victim protection institutions to meet to discuss his case, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Scheme to provide free period products is in high demand

A pilot scheme called Rote Box (red box) providing free tampons and pads in four locations in the Vienna Brigittenau district has reported much greater demand than expected for the sanitary products. The district of Vienna is one in which around 20 percent of girls are at risk of poverty. 

A total of 80,604 tampons and 94,960 pads were distributed via the boxes after being donated by a drugstore chain. The city is now examining whether and how the “Red Box” project can be continued, broadcaster ORF reports.

Work starts on Vienna’s controversial new city highway

After long  protests, at which protestors camped out for months, the construction of the controversial city highway in the Donaustadt district of Vienna has finally begun, broadcaster ORF reports. One protest camp still remains behind the Hirschstetten Gardens.

Excavators have started driving along the future route, while environmental activists are planning even more protests in the aim of stalling construction. The Lobau Bleibt protest website says further action is planned on May 25th.

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Covid-19 numbers on the rise, wages shrinking as cost of living increases, Finance Ministry official online communication and more news from Austria on Friday.

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

Austria’s Covid commission alerts to 70,000 daily infections soon

Austria’s commission to assess the pandemic situation, known as GECKO (Gesamtstaatliche COVID-Krisenkoordination), has alerted to rising Covid-19 numbers, Der Standard reports.

The commission believes the daily number of coronavirus infections could reach 70,000 already this summer. This is mainly because people have been travelling more than in previous years while wearing masks less often.

READ ALSO: Will Austria bring back its mask mandate before autumn?

Wages are shrinking and consumption is rising

Austria’s economy will grow somewhat more strongly this year than expected in March, ORF reported.

However, according to the June forecast of the economic research institutes WIFO and IHS, the outlook for the year’s second half is much gloomier.

Since inflation is higher than expected in March, gross real wages will fall by a historic 3.9 percent. However, if inflation falls, the real wages should increase significantly, about 5.3 percent, in 2023.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Austria’s new finance measures could benefit you

Finance Ministry to contact FinanzOnline users

If Austria’s Finance Ministry contacts you, don’t worry: they will be checking everyone’s data on the FinanzOnline platform.

The goal is to have up-to-date account data so that all the announced bonuses and payments to counter the rising cost of living to be made quickly and with no issues.

The contact will happen via the FinanzOnline website and e-mail to users who allow email contact.

Of course, whenever the government or authorities announce they will reach out to people, there are always criminals looking to take advantage of it. Therefore, ensure that the message you received is from FinanzOnline and check the official website directly instead of clicking on links.

READ ALSO: When will you get your cost of living ‘bonus’ payments in Austria?

School holidays start in the east

Vienna, Lower Austria, and Burgenland students have started their nine-week summer vacations. In the remaining Austrian states, school holidays will only begin next week.

Classes will resume on September 5th for the east and September 12th in the Western states. Austria’s ÖAMTC traffic authority expects heavy traffic jams at the beginning of the month, especially as the summer holidays have also started in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and two German federal states.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Austria in July 2022

A break in the heatwave

The west of Austria will have a small break from the heatwave this Friday, Austria’s meteorologic central ZAMG says. A cold front arrives from the west, and maximum temperatures will be between 18C to 21C in the region, with thunderstorms.

In Vienna and Burgenland, though, maximum temperatures continue high, reaching 35C during the day.

READ ALSO: Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms

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