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

Austria 'low risk' for Covid, plans to reform tax in light of inflation, e-prescriptions start and more news on Thursday.

The Steineres Meer mountains are seen at sunset in Leogang, near Salzburg
Sunshine and warm weather is expected for Friday (Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP)

Whole of Austria switched to low risk classification for Covid-19

Austria’s Covid traffic light commission has switched the whole of Austria to green-yellow or “low risk” for Covid-19.

Styria has the lowest risk of 11.8, but even the highest figure, Salzburg, is still in the low risk category with a score of 21.3. The commission looks at hospital figures and testing and as well as the number of infections to come to its results. 

READ MORE: How does Austria’s Covid ‘traffic light’ risk classification work?

Government to thrash out inflation-busting help package

After Austria experienced an estimated 8 percent inflation in May, another “anti-inflation package” is being worked on by the Government, the Krone newspaper reports. It is to be presented to the National Council on June 14 so that it can come into force before the summer. 

There are expected to be changes to cold progression, increases to social benefits and the suspension of the CO2 tax, which will otherwise make filling up cars and heating more expensive in July. This last issue is reportedly creating conflict in Austria’s coalition government, as the ÖVP want to postpone it, while the Greens want to press ahead. 

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

E-prescriptions come to Austria 

Doctor’s e-prescriptions, which can be redeemed with a smartphone QR code, should work throughout Austria by the end of June. There are also plans to make e-prescriptions valid abroad.  

Around 82 percent of doctors and 93 percent of pharmacies are already connected to the e-prescription network, the Krone newspaper reports, and the remaining ones should be ready to go by the end of the month. Private doctors can also join the system.

Calls for more to be done for LGBTIQ rights 

The opposition NEOS politician Yannick Shetty and government representative Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic (Greens) have given an interview to Der Standard newspaper in which they say Austria is lagging behind when it comes to rights for gay people. 

Although gay men can now give blood thanks to new rules, more could be done to right historic injustices. A draft law on banning homosexual conversion therapies is planned for June. Experts are also working on legislation planned to stop unnecessary sex reassignment operations on intersex children.  

The politicians call for compensation to be given to the 13,000 people prosecuted for being gay between 1950 and 1971. Ernst-Dziedzic estimates the compensation could cost around 700,000 euros.

READ MORE: Austria to end blood donor discrimination based on sexual orientation

Austrian Airlines relaxes its mask wearing rules

Austrian Airlines has removed the obligation to wear masks on their flights over the summer, in line with the Austrian government’s decision to suspend the mask requirement in Austria until  August 23rd. However, on some flights masks will continue to be worn, if the destination country requires passengers to do so. 

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For members


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

Innsbruck most expensive place to rent, call to tax energy companies' profits, more women in Austria's boardrooms, and other news from Austria on Tuesday.

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

Innsbruck most expensive place to rent

A comparison of rental prices across Austria has found that Tyrol’s capital, Innsbruck, is the most expensive place to rent a property, with Salzburg in second place. Vienna comes seventh in the comparison by the Krone newspaper. Innsbruck residents pay EUR 4.60 more per square metre than the Viennese. Nine of the ten most expensive districts are in Tyrol, Salzburg and Vorarlberg.

Among the best value of the 78 districts surveyed, three are in Styria.

READ MORE: How to find a rental flat when you arrive in Austria 

Calls to tax profits of energy companies by Austria’s Vice Chancellor 

Werner Kogler (Greens) has joined the voices of the opposition SPÖ party, the Chamber of Labor and trade unions in calling for taxation of “excess profits” made by energy companies. However, the OVP party, which governs Austria in coalition with the Greens, has distanced itself from this idea. The  Federation of Austrian Industries (IV-Vienna)chief Christian C. Pochtler described the plan as a “midsummer night’s dream” and “populist activism”, according to Der Standard newspaper.

Proportion of women in board positions at almost 30 percent

Only 29 percent of the companies in the Vienna Stock Exchange Index (WBI) have at least one woman on the executive board according to the “Mixed Leadership Barometer” survey  by the consulting firm EY. Overall, however, the proportion of women in boardrooms have increased in Austria. A total of 17 women sit on the boards of WBI companies, one more than at the beginning of the year. Five women currently work as CFO and four as CEO. Two women each work as Chief Operating Officer or Chief Customer Officer.

The real estate industry has the highest proportion of female board members at 20 percent. In second place is the consumer goods sector with a share of 19 percent. In industry, the proportion of women on the board is 9.5 percent, according to broadcaster ORF

Ex-football player arrested following match

The Upper Austrian police have been creating headlines after arresting ÖFB legend Hans Krankl following a Bundesliga match between LASK and Rapid on Sunday evening. The 69-year-old TV commentator is said to have disobeyed police instructions. According to the report, the local police wanted to ensure a coordinated departure of the thousands of football fans when the incident occurred. “The driver did not follow the clearly given stop signal and drove towards a police officer. He only stopped his vehicle when there had already been slight physical contact between the officer and the bumper of the car,” says the official police report.

Krankl was not mentioned by name in the police report, but he confirmed the incident to the Krone newspaper. However, he said he denies the allegations, adding the road was clear and there was no reason to stop him. He told the Krone  that he was a friend of the police.