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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

More details on cost of living bonus payments, increasing bills for electricity and other services and more news from Austria on Thursday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
A coachman of horse driven carriages (Fiakers) passes by Hofburg palace in Vienna.(Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

More details on how Austria’s 500 cost of living bonus will be paid out

More details have been released about how Austrians will receive their one-off anti-cost-of-living bonus from October, with every adult receiving €500 (€250 climate bonus and €250 crisis bonus) and every child €250. Anyone who has kept or updated their data on the FinanzOnline platform will have the bonus paid directly to their own account, and will not need to take further action.

Those without a FinanzOnline account will receive a voucher in the mail. This does not contain €500 in cash, but a credit note that can be redeemed in two ways. It can either be redeemed in thousands of shops, or it can be converted into cash at just one bank – the  bank99 branch.

READ MORE: When will you get your cost of living payment bonuses in Austria?

Schools may have to cut back on ski trips and heating due to energy costs

According to the  Wiener Zeitung  newspaper, headteachers at Austrian schools are concerned they may not have enough money to heat their schools and fear that school ski courses or further training could be cancelled.

The heating problems are exacerbated by Covid-19 rules which require frequent airing out of classrooms.

Call for more childcare, a more diverse labour force and more education to combat labour shortage

The head of Austria’s AMS unemployment service Johannes Kopf has called for nationwide all-day care for children from their first birthday in order to combat the “massive labour shortage” in Austria. He also recommends that companies rethink their search for personnel, such as giving more women in part-time jobs, older people or people with disabilities a chance.

He also said the government could limit incentives for early retirement and to encourage people to increase their level of education, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Government’s vaccination campaign cost two million euros in spring 2022

The cost of a federal government coronavirus vaccination campaign in mid-March under the motto “#GemeinsamGeimpft” (vaccinated together) cost more than €2 million euros by the beginning of June. The campaign involved targeting unvaccinated people with campaigns on TV, radio, print and online media. 

Before the campaign started, the federal government had suspended the planned compulsory vaccination for three months – and shortly afterwards the National Council unanimously repealed the law that had been passed for this purpose. The number of vaccinations carried out in Austria have stagnated since then, broadcaster ORF reports. 

READ MORE: How Austria’s attempt to make vaccines mandatory changed the country

Energy price increases loom

As The Local reported on Wednesday,  EVN and Wien Energie – both part of the Energieallianz Austria (EAA) group – have both announced they will be increasing energy prices from next month.

In an interview with broadcaster ORF,  the Managing Director of the Austrian Energy Agency (AEA)  Franz Angerer said it was not surprising that prices had risen as market prices had soared over the past months. There are very few ways for consumers to save on bills, other than reducing consumption. The fact that Wien Energie and EVN, but not their partner in Energieallianz Austria, Burgenland Energie, are raising prices is because Burgenland produces more wind power. However, experts believe prices will also rise there eventually. 

At the same time as the price increase, Wien Energie announced a tariff for regular customers. As a result, Wien Energie customers could reduce the increase to 24 percent for electricity and 50 percent for natural gas, according to a Wien Energie broadcast on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Where are energy prices going up again in Austria 

Vienna wants to charge more for waste collection, sewage and parking in 2023

Despite the cost of living crisis, Vienna wants to raise the cost of waste collection, sewage and parking in 2023, according to the Krone newspaper. The newspaper says this will result in an increase of €40 to €60 million to the city’s coffers, though it notes the exact sum depends on the consumer price index.

Austria coping well with climate-change related flooding

A study completed by international researchers in the journal “Nature” cites Austria as a country where flooding has been successfully managed, with the researchers citing the Danube floods of 2002 and 2013 as successful examples.

Although the amount of precipitation in 2013 exceeded that of 2002 and the risk of extreme flooding was generally higher, Austrians got off much lighter in 2013. Compared to the flood of 2002, the amount of damage nine years later was significantly lower.

According to a flood report by the Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) , this becomes particularly clear using the example of Marchland. In 2002, there was flood damage in the region of around €500 million. In 2013, however, the damage totalled only around €25 million, broadcaster ORF reports.

READ MORE: How the Danube protects Vienna from catastrophic floods

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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. 

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