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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Austria's inflation busting 500 euro bonus moves step closer, G7 summit traffic warning, FPÖ against Ukraine joining EU and more news on Thursday.

Austrian Parliament
The Austrian Parliament is almost complete after years of renovations. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

500 euro bonus to be voted through

​​The federal government will pass new legislative measures against inflation later today (Thursday) in a special session of the National Council. As The Local reported earlier this month, it will mean all adults in Austria will receive 500 euros in October, with children receiving half this amount. The climate bonus payment is designed to offset the carbon tax, which is also planned for the autumn, as well as relieving the effect of high inflation. The timetable was announced by ÖVP club chairman August Wöginger and Green Party member Sigrid Maurer on Wednesday before the Council of Ministers.

READ MORE: How Austria’s new finance measure could benefit you 

The payment will be available for all people residing in Austria, as long as they are in the country for at least 183 days per calendar year. It will be made automatically to each individual, and there is no need to apply for the funds.

Severe traffic expected around G7 in Garmisch and nearby Bregenz

Severe traffic is expected in the Austrian town of Bregenz due to the G7 summit in Garmisch on Sunday. In order to reduce traffic jams in and around Bregenz caused by border controls in Germany, several measures will come into force from Wednesday. Vehicles exiting the A14 autobahn in Wolfurt or Bregenz are prohibited from driving through the state capital to prevent alternative traffic until Sunday, July 3, 2022, broadcaster ORF reports.

Vienna’s Parliament building is 97 percent ready
The general renovation of Austria’s parliament building is in the final phase, with 97 percent of the work complete. The building is to be handed over to the parliamentary administration in October – much later than originally planned. The building will come back into use in 2023, broadcaster ORF reports.

Austria’s far right FPÖ party wants Austria to oppose Ukraine’s EU membership

Austria’s far right FPÖ party does not want Ukraine to become part of the EU. MEP Roman Haider and FPÖ Europe spokeswoman Petra Steger have stated that Ukraine “is far from meeting the requirements of a candidate for EU membership”. The party demands Austria “speak out against Ukraine’s application for EU membership”, in a broadcast on Wednesday before an EU summit in which the Ukraine conflict and EU membership applications from Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia  are expected to be debated.

The Krone newspaper comments this stance is “not surprising”, as the party has repeatedly spoken out against Russian sanctions and FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl said in May that no heavy weapons should be delivered to Ukraine in order to “break the spiral of escalation”.

Call for tests at Danube Island Festival 

The Danube Island Festival starts tomorrow, taking place as normal for the first time in two years. In view of the increasing number of Covid-19 infections in Austria, visitors are now being asked to take a Covid test before attending the event. It is also recommended to wear masks in close spaces. People are not allowed to take bikes, dogs, umbrellas, large backpacks or drinks into the festival.

READ MORE: The best festivals and events to enjoy in Austria this summer

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For members

TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Plans to introduce electricity price brake, deadline for energy voucher extended, church contributions under fire from FPÖ party and more news from Austria on Monday.

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

Electricity price brake expected in October

There are signs that an electricity price brake may come into effect later in the year in Austria, meaning a certain quota of electricity would be made available for each household at a certain price. The Austrian  Finance Minister Brunner (ÖVP) has said that the ÖVP-Green government is currently in the process of working on this electricity price brake.  He expects a corresponding law to be passed in September and that it will come into force in October, according to broadcaster ORF

Last week, Vienna’s finance minister Peter Hanke told the Standard newspaper that people should set their heating to 19 degrees and suggested the capital’s museums might be set to a lower temperature to reduce energy costs.

READ ALSO: Austria announces electricity price cap from autumn as prices soar

Energy voucher: Deadlines extended

By the end of June, every household in Austria should have received an energy voucher worth 150 euros, which can be redeemed and given to their electricity supplier. Now the deadline to request a voucher has been extended until the end of October. There is also more time to redeem the voucher, until the end of the year instead of the end of October. The voucher cannot be redeemed in 2023. 

Households that have not yet redeemed their voucher or have to apply for a new one, for example because the voucher was lost or did not arrive, have more time to do so. New vouchers can now be requested from the energy cost compensation hotline on 050 233 798 until the end of October. 

READ MORE: How to claim your €150 energy discount in Austria 

Right wing FPÖ Party calls for pause in church contribution payments

The right wing FPÖ party leader Herbert Kickl appealed to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn at the weekend to suspend the payments of Catholic church contributions in Austria for an indefinite period in view of the  current extreme wave of inflation. The Archdiocese of Vienna replied that It has been “practice in the Catholic Church for years”, to take into account the individual situation of its contributors.

“Of course, nothing will change in the current crisis or in the future,” stated the press office of the Archdiocese of Vienna, according to Kathpress.

Kickl had previously said that Schönborn, as head of the church, should know “how poverty and existential fears can affect people – and for many of them every cent that they have or don’t have at their disposal counts”, broadcaster ORF reports, adding it was very difficult to get an exemption from contributions. 

READ MORE: What is Austria’s church tax and how do I avoid paying it? 

 FPÖ party rocked by reports found on former MP’s phone 

The FPÖ party has had what the Standard newspaper described as “a horror week” after advertisements briefing against top officials in FPÖ Vienna was found on the phone of  former FPÖ MP Hans-Jörg Jenewein. Vienna FPÖ boss Dominik Nepp said the report was “completely irrelevant”, while noting that the matter would be “clarified internally”. The Vienna FPÖ head also criticised the media, which he said had exaggerated the issue, arguing that an attempt was being made to provoke a dispute within the party, broadcaster ORF reports. 

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