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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Groups linked to Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) to pay back pandemic aid money, government launches new energy-saving campaign and more news from Austria on Tuesday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Christmas lights will be affected by Graz's new energy-saving plans. (Photo by Marina Khrapova on Unsplash)

Tyrolean ÖVP organisation must pay back €816,000 in pandemic aid

The federal government has stated that several “sub-associated” groups of the Tyrolean “Young Farmers” association will have to repay more than € 816,000 in pandemic aid, broadcaster ORF reported citing vice-chancellor Werner Kogler (Green).

The groups received the pandemic aid from a fund destined for social and non-profit organisations. However, Kogler said that these groups were actually ÖVP-related organisations. Since party groups were to be excluded from this particular Covid-aid, they will now have to repay the sum.

The payments were looked into after a request by the opposition party NEOS.

READ ALSO: Austria announces new Covid-19 vaccination campaign

Federal government announces energy-saving campaign

Austria’s federal government launched its “Mission 11” campaign to help the country’s residents reduce energy consumption by eleven percent, as The Local reported on Monday.

“Today we are launching Mission 11 and we hope that as many people as possible will join us”, Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said in a press conference. She added that “small changes in our behaviour” could help the country save energy amid the global energy crisis.

The government announced several tips to keep houses warmer, save energy, and improve efficiency.

READ ALSO: ‘Mission 11’: Austrian government reveals tips on how to save energy and fuel

Graz activates the first “early warning” stage for energy

With immediate effect, the Mayor of Graz, Elke Kahr (KPÖ), activated the first stage of the three-stage plan to save energy on Monday.

In this early warning stage, measures will be taken that will bring about actual energy savings but will also contribute to raising awareness among the population of Graz, the City of Graz said on Monday. The plans were worked on over the summer.

The measures include restricting the illumination of public buildings, reducing the lighting time of Christmas lights, saving energy in public buildings, decreasing in temperatures of indoor swimming pools and others.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Will I benefit from Austria’s electricity price cap for my second home?

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

High air pressure will initially ensure very sunny weather in almost all parts of the country on Tuesday, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said.

From noon, however, the first denser clouds will reach the eastern Alps from the northwest. Still, the probability of rain showers remains low for the time being, it said.

The wind near the ground will often be weak, blowing from inconsistent directions. Low temperatures in the morning are between 6C to 14C, highs during the day 22C to 28C, with the highest values in the west and south.

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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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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].

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