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

Energy subsidy plan in the works, Kurz to talk to inquiry commission, Covid numbers going up and more news from Austria on Wednesday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Austria's former chancellor Sebastian Kurz implicated by ally in corruption scandal (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Government to present energy subsidy plan for companies

After weeks of negotiations, the federal government should present the energy cost subsidy this Wednesday. 

Although the detailed negotiations in the turquoise-green (ÖVP-Greens) coalition are still ongoing, the most critical cornerstones have already been agreed upon, Austrian media has reported.

“Energy-intensive” companies are the focus of the subsidy, the reports say. Restaurants and bars will get assistance – but only those that take energy-saving measures such as turning off electric heaters outdoors.

READ ALSO: How could Austria’s new electricity price brake benefit you?

Former chancellor Sebastian Kurz returns to political spotlight

Sebastian Kurz may have resigned from the country’s top position (and politics itself), but sometimes he can’t help returning to the spotlight. 

The former chancellor was invited – as an “information person” – to the ongoing commission of inquiry looking into allegations of corruption in his party, the ÖVP. 

He is expected to be asked about matters and decisions of his chancellery leading up to the Inseratenaffäre, the allegation that his inner circle bribed Austrian newspapers to publish fake polls favourable to him.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: The Kurz corruption scandal exposes Austria’s press freedom problems

More than 10,000 new coronavirus infections reported

Austria on Tuesday recorded 10,449 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry.

This is the first time infection numbers have gone over 10,000 since late July. The 10,449 new Corona infections were above the average of 8,058 conditions per day over the past seven days.

Additionally, the number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 also grew, to 1,291, 143 more than the previous day.

READ ALSO: Could Austria be spared another wave of Covid this winter?

Austrians exchange two million shillings for euros annually

Austria may have joined the eurozone in 1999 (one of the first countries to do so), but that doesn´t mean its former currency, the shilling, isn’t around anymore. In fact, every year, Austrians exchange between one and two million shillings, the daily newspaper Der Standard reported.

The coins and notes can be exchanged (in person or by mail) by the country’s Central Bank without any fees. The bank has already exchanged 97 percent of the shilling notes that were once in circulation, but less than half of the coins.

READ ALSO: 7 ways to talk about money in German

Austria to start border controls in Slovenia borders

Austria will start controls on the border crossings with Slovakia from Thursday, 0.00 a.m., Austrian media reported. 

On Wednesday, the Czech Republic will begin checks on Slovakia due to the increased volume of smugglers. Interior Minister Karner then announced to the “Journal um Acht” that the country would introduce controls. 


Screenshot from ZAMG

A cold front lies over Austria with often many clouds nationwide and initially precipitation mainly in the west. 

In the afternoon, there will be hardly any sunshine but some rain. Most precipitation will continue to fall in Vorarlberg and Tyrol. Snow will hardly fall below 2000m. 

The wind will be light to moderate in the eastern region temporarily and also brisk from directions around the south. By evening, the wind will shift more to the west, weakening. High temperatures will be between 11C to 18C.

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: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

Austria faces 'Grüß Gott' vs 'Guten Tag' debate, Nazi material found during investigations on FPÖ, Vienna's €200 energy bonus and more news from Austria on Monday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
  • The ‘Grüß Gott’ vs. ‘Guten Tag’ debate

A curious debate was sparked in the Austrian parliament, newspaper Der Standard reported. 

On Wednesday, the Lower Austrian ÖVP regional manager Bernhard Ebner took his turn as a respondent during the parliamentary inquiry committee investigating alleged corruption allegations against his centre-right party. 

Ebner had begun his appearance with a “Grüß Gott”, to which SPÖ parliamentary group leader Kai Jan Krainer is said to have “briskly replicated”: “In Vienna, it’s not Grüß Gott, but Guten Tag.” The ÖVP was quick to comment that “Whoever says ‘Grüß Gott’ is now verbally attacked by the SPÖ.” 

 But what is the difference between these greetings?

‘Grüß Got’ is widespread in the Catholic German-speaking area: in Austria, in the German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, and in South Tyrol. Strictly speaking, it means: “God greets you”. It is similar to “Pfiat di Gott”, which comes from “Behüt dich Gott” or the Swiss “Grüezi”. Initially, these phrases meant a blessing.

The spiritual background leads to the fact that “Grüß Gott” is still used today primarily by religiously influenced, more conservative people. On the other hand, more secular, left-oriented people tend to use different formulations such as “Begrüße Sie” (Greetings) or  “Guten Tag” (Good day).

However, the way of greeting currently gives less clear information about worldview and political affiliation. “Grüß Gott” often has as little to do with religion as “Gott sei Dank” (thank God). 

Additionally, less formal forms of address, such as the more friendly “Hallo” or its English counterpart “Hi”, are steadily finding their way into everyday speech. Amicable greeting idioms such as “Griaß di/eich” or “Servus” also remain popular. 

READ ALSO: Five unwritten rules that explain how Austria works

  • Everything that’s new in Vienna in December

From new energy bonuses being sent out to important trials and major events, here are the important changes, dates and events happening in Vienna in December.

  • Nazi material found during investigations on FPÖ

During the house searches in connection with the FPÖ finance affair in Graz in October, material with Nazi connection was also seized, broadcaster ORF reported. However, it is still unclear whether the material can be attributed to former FPÖ politicians.

On October 15th, house searches were carried out at 12 addresses in connection with the financial scandal surrounding opaque money flows at the Graz FPÖ. 

At the time, the investigators were targeting former FPÖ deputy mayor Mario Eustacchio, ex-club chairman Armin Sippel, ex-finance officer Matthias Eder and three other people, party-affiliated associations and fraternities.

READ ALSO: Is Austria’s Freedom Party a ‘far-right’ party?

  • Applications are now open for the €200 Vienna energy bonus

Monday marks the official start of the Vienna Energy Bonus and households can apply for a subsidy of €200.

With this measure, in addition to the subsidies provided by the federal government, the City of Vienna wants to help the citizens of the national capital because of the increase in energy prices and living costs.

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

  • Austria finishes 8-wing luge weekend in World Cup

Austria received gold medals in all five races this Sunday to finish a perfect 8-8 weekend in the World Cup luge season. The hosting country also won three races on Saturday. 

Austrians took the top four spots in the men’s singles, and Nico Gleirscher was first also in the men’s spring (with Austrian Wolfgang Kindl second in both races). Madeleine Egle won the women’s sprint, while Selina Egle and Lara Kipp won the first World Cup women’s doubles sprint race on Sunday.

Yannick Müller and Armin Frauscher won the men’s doubles sprint. 

The series now moves to North America in the coming weekend.

READ ALSO: How to save money and still go skiing in Austria

  • Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

The snow line lies between 700m in Vorarlberg and 1400m in parts of Carinthia, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said. By evening it will also start to rain or snow in Salzburg and Upper Styria. 

In the other regions, it will remain predominantly dry until the evening. High temperatures during the day are 3C to 8C.

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].