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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Nord Stream One starts up gas deliveries again, calls by EU for countries to ration gas, hot weather continues and more news from Austria on Thursday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
You can cheer on Austria's women's team at the Rathaus tonight. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Gas flows again through Nord Stream One 

Austria has breathed a sigh of relief as gas has started flowing again through Nord Stream One, a Russian-German gas pipeline, after it was closed for maintenance.

However it will take time until it can transport the gas at full capacity, around 67 million cubic meters per day, the Krone newspaper reports.

It had been feared that Russia might close the pipeline and cut off the gas. Austria’s  gas storage facilities are currently more than 50 percent full,  representing about half of Austria’s annual consumption. 

EU calls on countries to reduce gas consumption

The EU is calling on all countries to reduce their gas consumption by 15 percent by spring. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the new EU plans to further reduce dependence on Russian gas on Wednesday, in order to stop Russia using energy as a weapon.

Austria’s Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) described the EU proposals as “reasonable”, broadcaster ORF reports. However, she also called for greater speed over plans for joint gas purchasing.

Austria is in a particularly weak position as it is heavily reliant on Russian gas. In 2021 Austria imported 86 percent of its gas from Russia.

As it is a landlocked country, it is harder for Austria to obtain gas by other routes than pipelines. In Austria inflation recently climbed to 8.7 percent, but according to the head of the Austrian Economic Research Institute, Gabriel Felbermayr, inflation could double if gas stops flowing to the country, and the European economy would slide into recession.

Sweltering weather in Austria continues

Most of Austria sweltered on Wednesday, with around 160 of the 280 weather stations in the Alpine republic displaying temperatures of 30 degrees or higher.

Record temperatures were recorded at high altitudes, with the Patscherkofel in Tyrol and on the Villacher Alpe in Carinthia, which are 2,000 degrees above sea level, both reaching over 20 degrees. In Innsbruck, it was 37 degrees.

However, Austria’s highest ever temperature record still stands. This was the 40.5 degrees high recorded in 2013 in Bad Deutsch-Altenburg. 

Lower Austrians to have electricity bills subsidised.

People with their main residence in Lower Austria will receive funding to help with their electricity bills, based on the number of people in their households.

The funding will be capped at 80 percent of the average energy bill, meaning those who use less energy will benefit the most. It will be possible to apply for the discount from September 1st, with payments being made monthly from October. There are also calls for a nation-wide electricity price cap to be introduced. 

More states given “high risk” rating by Austria’s Covid traffic light commission 

Austria’s Covid traffic light commission has designated seven of the country’s states as orange, which means there is a “high risk” of being infected.

Only in Carinthia and Styria is there a medium risk (yellow). The commission may now change its focus to hospital admissions rather than infections, due to variations in testing across Austria.

Cheer on Austria’s women’s national team at Vienna’s Rathaus

There will be a chance to watch Austria’s women’s national team play Germany on the big screen in front of Vienna’s Rathaus this evening. 

The quarter-final match of the Euro championships will be shown on  Thursday from  21:00.

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Tyrol coalition talks begin without the FPÖ, Austria and Germany in negotiations over gas deal, rents are going up in Vienna and more news from Austria on Tuesday.

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

Tyrol coalition talks to happen without the FPÖ

The ÖVP, the centre-right party that got the most votes and is tasked to try and form a government in Tyrol, said they would start exploratory talks to form a coalition – with everyone except the far-right FPÖ.

The Tyrolean centre-left SPÖ, which came second after the FPÖ, said they were willing to have talks with the ÖVP, broadcaster ORF reported. However, they added they would reject a tripartite coalition, such as an alliance with ÖVP and NEOS.

The western state of Tyrol had state elections on Sunday, with ÖVP receiving 34.71 percent of the votes, down by 9.55 percentage points from the previous election.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who will be Tyrol’s new governor?

Austria and Germany in talks over gas deal

Austria’s Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said she was convinced that Germany would show solidarity in the event of a gas emergency.

She added there was an agreement with German Minister Robert Habeck (greens) and that a contract for a gas deal would be closed “in the next few weeks”, public broadcaster ORF said.

The comments were made during a visit to the Austrian state of Vorarlberg, where the government is asking for faster approval procedures to develop projects in renewable energy such as wind and hydropower.

READ ALSO: How European countries are spending billions on easing energy crisis

Rents in Gemeindewohnungen in Vienna are going up

Some 600 families will see their rents in their subsidy-backed apartments (the Gemeindewohnungen) going up in Vienna.

As of October, the monthly rent for the apartments with expired subsidy contracts will increase by €2.14 per square metre. This means that flats of 70 square metres could cost tenants almost €150 more a month, for example.

The renters affected are considering a class action against the state-owned Wiener Wohnen company, Vienna.at reported.

READ ALSO: Reader question: How does Vienna’s rent control system work?

Civil alarms will be tested this Saturday

Don’t get scared: on Saturday, October 1st, Austria will be testing its civil alarm system all over the country. The loud sirens (more than 8,000 of them) will be tested from 12 pm to 12:45 pm.

This particular yearly test is also intended to help people get familiarised with the alert system.

That means that besides the 15-second siren, you will also hear: a three-minute steady continue tone, which is intended as a warning, a one-minute ascending and descending wail, which is an alarm, meaning there is danger, and the one-minute steady, continuous tone that is intended to signify an all-clear.

READ ALSO: What is Austria’s official emergency-warning phone app and do I need it?

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

In the western half of Austria, clouds will predominate until mid-morning with local rain, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said. Then there will be an interplay of clouds and short sunny spells, with a few rain showers.

Further east, the sky is often grey in grey all day. Only towards evening the cloudiness gradually decreases. In these regions, rain is to be expected at times, especially until the early afternoon. The snow line will fluctuate between 1500 and 2000 m above sea level.

The wind will be light in the south and initially also in the east, otherwise moderate to strong from south to northwest. In the afternoon, temperatures will range from 9 to 16 degrees.

If you have any questions about life in Austria, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

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