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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Gas storage levels filling up, inflation at 10.5 percent, controversy with the Lobau Tunnel and more news from Austria on Friday.

grocery shopping spain prices inflation
Inflation on essential food items has risen in Austria. (Photo by JEAN-PIERRE MULLER / AFP)

Gas storage levels to reach 80 percent ‘soon’

Austria’s domestic gas storage systems are filling up, the head of E-Control, the country’s energy regulator, told ZiB. Carola Millgramm said the storage levels should be 80 percent full by October 1st.

This means that industry, as well as households, can count on enough natural gas for the winter.

The situation would have to be re-evaluated if gas deliveries were to be stopped completely. In general, though, Austria is “well prepared for winter”, a representative of the Austrian Energy Ministry told broadcaster ORF.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: How reliant is Austria on Russia for energy

Is this the end of the Lobau Tunnel?

Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) wants to bring down the Lobau Tunnel for good: “Just because something was worth considering 20 years ago doesn’t mean it’s still the right decision today”, she said.

The controversial project was created to ease traffic from the outskirts of Vienna (east of the Danube river) to the capital centre. However, the tunnel would go below protected green areas in the 22nd district, and environmentalists alerted to the dangers it could bring to the Lobau region.

Additionally, many people complained that creating more roads for cars was not the best way to deal with traffic – saying the government should focus on giving the population better public transport options instead.

But the project is polarised, with many, including leading party ÖVP, still in favour of it, claiming Vienna urgently needs efficient traffic relief.

READ ALSO: The best spots to recharge on the weekend in Vienna

Inflation estimated at 10.5 percent in September

The inflation rate for September 2022 is expected to be 10.5 percent, according to calculations by Statistics Austria, as part of a flash estimate. Compared to the previous month, consumer prices rose by 1.6 percent.

The inflation rate thus exceeds the values during the oil crises of the 1970s and rises to the highest level since July 1952, when it was 14.1 percent.

The main reason for the rise in consumer prices is substantial increases in household energy, which is also the most important driver of inflation in September. The second most important price driver is fuel prices, which remain at a high level. There were moderate price increases in food and restaurants.

READ ALSO: Reader question: I’ve received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

Apart from a few clearings, abundant clouds will prevail and there will be intermittent rain, especially in the south. Still, there will also be some rain in the other regions, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said.

The snow line rises from 1900 to 2500m.

The wind will blow weakly to moderately from different directions. Daytime highs are between 12 and 17 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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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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