For members


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

Calls to raise minimum wage, the government clashes with prosecutors over employees' data, an escaped kangaroo and more news from Austria on Thursday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
An escaped kangaroo made headlines in Austria (Photo by Marcus Byrne on Unsplash)

Austrian federal government against prosecutors

Austria’s Chancellery has said they won’t comply with an order of the public prosecutor’s office (WKStA, the area of the office that deals with corruption cases) to pass on data of dozens of employees.

In August, the WKStA issued a seizure order to the Chancellor’s Office, demanding the handover of masses of data from dozens of employees. On Thursday, the Chancellor’s Office informed the responsible senior public prosecutor that it would not comply with this request.

The request for data was too vague to be complied with without violating the rights of the persons concerned, the government claimed.

The investigation concerns suspicions that persons around the then Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, beginning in 2016, had used public funds to have manipulated opinion polls to use them to promote Kurz’s rise to ÖVP leader and Federal Chancellor.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why was Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz forced to resign?

Escaped kangaroo is back at Vorarlberg zoo

Who says that there are no kangaroos in Austria? “Rudi”, a kangaroo that escaped from the Doppelmayr Zoo in Wolfurg (Vorarlberg), was returned to its enclosure this Wednesday, Austrian media reported.

The zoo reported missing the animal on Friday. Rudi has since been observed hopping around the Bildstein area near the zoo.

This is not the first time an escaped kangaroo has made headlines in Austria.

Wien Energie has not used the federal loan yet

Wien Energie has not yet needed the €2 billion credit line granted by the federal government, a spokeswoman of Economic and Financial City Councillor Peter Hanke (SPÖ) said.

However, the state-run energy provider has tapped into the €1.4 billion loans offered by the City of Vienna, public broadcaster ORF reported.

Wien Energie’s acute financial need became public after the utility asked the federal government for cash as prices in international markets soared. In addition, the need for collateral for settling transactions on the energy exchanges had risen sharply in the short term due to increasing electricity and gas.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Why did Wien Energie ask for €6 billion from the Austrian government?

Calls for an increase in the minimum wage

The head of the trade union ÖGB, Wolfgang Katzian, has called for an increase in the minimum wage to €2,000 due to rising inflation.

The union and sector representatives are set for a talk on wages and the so-called collective agreement that rules relations between specific unions and Austrian industries in the coming weeks, ORF said.

Currently, some 180,000 workers receive less than €1,700 gross a month. Katzian said he expects negotiations to be “very difficult” this year.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s ‘Tax Freedom Day’?

Weather forecast for Thursday

Screenshot from ZAMG

Especially in the east, the afternoon will have dense clouds, rain and thunderstorms, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG forecasts. From Vorarlberg to Upper Austria, the clouds will clear and the showers will subside. In Vienna, the afternoon will bring dense clouds, showers and thunderstorms. In the evening, however, the weather calms down again.

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].

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


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

Inquiry commission on Wien Energie begins, verdict on Leonie-case expected for today, province leaders meeting and more news from Austria on Friday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
  • Austria starts inquiry committee over Wien Energie

Starting on Friday at 10 am at the Vienna City Hall, the City Council’s investigative commission on the Wien Energie case will meet every two weeks.

On the initiative of the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), it will investigate the events surrounding the dramatic financial needs of Wien Energie that became known in the summer. The commission can summon people to testify and request documents. 

They will focus on two issues. 

The first concerns the extent to which Mayor Michael Ludwig and City Finance Councillor Peter Hanke have exercised their ownership rights regarding Wien Energie, which is wholly owned by the city via Wiener Stadtwerke. Specifically, the commission wants to know whether the two SPÖ politicians reacted in time and appropriately to the price increases in the electricity markets in the summer. 

The second matter revolves around Ludwig’s emergency powers as head of the city, with which he granted Wien Energie loans totalling €1.4 billion. It is to be clarified whether this procedure was legally compliant and whether Ludwig should have informed committees such as the City Senate earlier.

READ ALSO: Why did Wien Energie ask for €6 billion from the Austrian government?

  • Austrian citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a driving offence?

Naturalisation processes may be on the rise in Austria, but citizenship is still hard to get, and any mistake could mean you miss out on the opportunity. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Verdict on the case of the death of 13-year old that shocked Austria expected on Friday

The court case about the killed 13-year-old, Leonie W., is coming to an end, with a verdict expected on Friday. 

Zubaidullah R. (24), Ibraulhaq A. (19) and Ali H. (20) allegedly mixed ecstasy tablets into a drink for Leonie W. and then raped her in June 2021, according to prosecutors. The girl did not survive. She died of a fatal triple overdose and by suffocation inside the apartment of one of the defendants in Vienna-Donaustadt.

The men all admitted to having had sexual intercourse with a minor. However, they claim it had been consensual.

The verdicts are expected on Friday. In case of a guilty verdict, Zubaidullah R. could face ten, 20 years or life as he was older than 21 at the time of the alleged crime. Ibraulhaq A. and Ali H. each face up to 20 years.

READ ALSO: Fall-Leonie: charges filed in case of death of a 13-year-old girl in Vienna

  • Province leaders to meet in Vienna

Vienna’s mayor – and provincial governor – Michael Ludwig (SPÖ), is hosting a conference with the provincial governors on Friday. 

At the meeting in Vienna’s City Hall, the heads of the provinces will discuss, among other things, fiscal matters, broadcaster ORF reported. They had already announced in advance that they wanted a bigger slice of the revenue shares in future. But the energy crisis is also a “central focus”.

“Rising energy prices and their consequences for the economy and society are among the greatest current challenges”, the provincial governors said in a joint statement on Thursday. 

The conference will, therefore, also discuss a motion calling on the federal government to present “as soon as possible” an energy protection umbrella for business and labour as well as all households to cushion the high energy costs for Austria’s companies.

READ ALSO: Vienna Energy Bonus: How to get a €200 payout

  • Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

Dense clouds will cover the sky; in the south, there may be some sleet and snow at low altitudes, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said. 

The snow line will be between 500 and 900m above sea level in the west. In the afternoon, the snowfall will decrease in the south. In the northern half, it may continue to snow a little.

Towards evening the snowfall will stop almost everywhere. The wind will be mostly light in the east, partly moderate from northeast to southeast. Daytime highs are between 0C and 5C.

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].