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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Authorities looking to curb illegal racing, energy prices rising, traffic expected ahead of the extended weekend and more news from Austria on Friday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Drivers can expect busy border crossings and lots of traffic ahead of the long weekend. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

Vienna wants to take action against speeding drivers

The City of Vienna is looking for ways to deal with illegal races across its street, especially in its 19th-Döbling district, where accidents happen too often, daily Der Standard reported.

Some measures have already been taken, including adding concrete guard walls in parking lots where racers meet and adding a 30km/h speed zone.

Now, Viennese authorities want changes in laws at a federal level, specifically a way to legally confiscate cars in cases of serious infractions or multiple offences.

READ ALSO: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

Rising energy costs

Austrian households paid 45 percent more for energy in June than in the same month the year before, Die Presse says. The prices of fuels, heating oil and gas have risen sharply. Wood pellets and firewood are also more expensive.

When it comes to electricity and gas, many providers are also increasing prices.

In addition to the gas crisis, other factors also affected the price of electricity: drought in large parts of Europe reduces production in river power plants. Besides that, many nuclear power plants are not in operation due to technical defects; others have to be throttled because the rivers used for cooling lead were either too warm or had too little water.

“The high prices are a signal for diversification towards more wind power, photovoltaics, and geothermal energy and at the same time, more energy efficiency and energy saving”, Austria’s Energy Agency said.

READ ALSO: Cost of living: Austria’s postal service announces prices increases

Austria wants to reopen its embassy in Baghdad

Austria is looking to reopen its embassy in Iraq by September 1st, daily Kurier reported. The Austrian ambassador left Baghdad in January 1991, with other Western diplomats, due to security reasons.

According to the Kurier, the embassy in Baghdad is now to be “housed in a protected, international area as a first step”, with security forces hired locally. The authorities believe permanent representation in the country will be a “decisive advantage” for Austrian companies and organisations.

Additionally, a specific officer in the embassy should inform Vienna of “current developments and the prevailing situation in Iraq” and, in particular, any news on the topic of migration.

READ ALSO: MAP: Who are the foreigners in Austria?

Traffic and troubles for the extended weekend ahead

Austria’s ÖAMTC expects heavy travel on the country’s transit routes ahead of the long weekend and warned motorists to expect traffic jams and queues by the borders.

The transport club said many travellers continue to drive south while some are already driving in the opposite direction returning from vacation. The extended weekend due to the Monday holiday (Mariä Himmelfahrt) also favours day trips and short breaks, especially with the nice weather forecast.

The worst traffic should be divided into Sunday and Monday, ÖAMTC warns.

READ ALSO: ‘Bad and hasty drivers’: Your verdict on scrapping Austrian autobahn speed limits

Heat and thunderstorms this Friday in Austria

Though the day starts sunny in most of Austria, the afternoon should bring showers and thunderstorms, especially above the mountains. In the east, it should be more stable and sunny, Austria’s meteorologic agency ZAMG said. Afternoon temperatures will be between 22C and 27C.

During the evening hours, the rain will subside and dry weather generally prevails. Low temperatures will be between 8C and 17C.

“In Vienna, sunny weather prevails, even if clouds seem denser. Short rains cannot be ruled out”, ZAMG says. Afternoon temperatures will be around 27C. The night will be around 16C.

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

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Energy cost subsidy announced, the latest Strache controversy, weather forecast and more news from Austria on Thursday.

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

Energy cost subsidy for companies is increased

Since many companies can no longer afford the sharply increased energy costs, the government has decided to increase the budget for a subsidy from €450 million to €1.3 billion. 

Specifically, funds are earmarked for companies that spend at least much of their turnover on electricity, gas and fuels, the daily newspaper Die Presse reported.

The first money is supposed to flow later this year, but the subsidies will be retroactively paid to bills from February to September 2022.

Each company can receive up to €50 million.

READ ALSO: From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

Tyrol could have a three-way coalition

In Tyrol, there will likely be either a two-party coalition of centre-right ÖVP and centre-left SPÖ or a tripartite alliance of ÖVP, Greens and Neos. 

Anton Mattle, the  ÖVP candidate tasked with forming the state’s new government, will invite these parties “in a timely manner” to an exploratory round before a final decision on coalition negotiations, he told journalists on Wednesday evening after the initial discussion round in Innsbruck’s Landhaus.

Tyrol had state elections on Sunday, and the ÖVP suffered a significant loss, though it was the most voted party. It now needs to enter into an agreement with other parties to form a parliamentary majority.

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

Former vice-chancellor Strache makes headlines again

If you see the face of former vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache (formerly FPOe) on the news often this week – and maybe even on one or two satirical drawings, that’s because of the latest, well, gossip regarding the politician.

The once powerful politician fell in disgrace after a video of him bragging about his party’s influence on Austrian media and organisations leaked. The video, shot with a hidden camera and the help of people pretending to have ties with Russian oligarchs, was filmed on the Spanish island of Ibiza. It was released in 2019 and crumbled the OeVP-FPOe coalition. 

Since then, both parties, and Strache, have faced corruption allegations and charges.

Now, the controversy surrounding the former vice-chancellor also involves his personal life. He recently divorced from long-time partner Philippa Strache, an Austrian politician who stood by him during the Ibiza affair. 

The reason came out this week: Strache apparently hid the fact he had a child with another woman from his wife. A daughter was born in 2016, just eight months before the lavishing Strache wedding ceremony in Wachau.

READ ALSO: ‘Ibizagate’: What you need to know about the Austrian political corruption scandal

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG  

Numerous cloud fields will cover the country, the sun will only appear occasionally and there will still be rain showers in the morning, especially in the eastern half, Austria´s meteorological institute ZAMG said.

In the afternoon, the precipitation will decrease, but in the west and south of Austria, rain and showers will set in again with the arrival of the next disturbance. The snow line will be around 2000m above sea level. 

Winds will often be light from mainly northerly directions. Afternoon temperatures should stay between 9 and 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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