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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]at.

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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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