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

SPÖ gets significant results in Burgenland elections, chancellor to participate in 'migration summit', weapons arsenal found in Tyrol and more news from Austria on Monday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
L-R Roswitha Merz wife of President of Switzerland Hans-Rudolf Merz,Margit Fischer wife of Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Princess Sophie wife of Liechtenstein's Prince Alois meet in Esterhazy castle in Austrian Eisenstadt on October 28, 2009. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Burgenland municipal elections results are in

Austria’s Burgenland state had municipal elections, and the centre-left party SPÖ saw some gains, though centre-right ÖVP kept the absolute majority in the capital Eisenstadt.

Thomas Steiner (ÖVP) lost 1.9 percentage points but still holds the capital with 53.4 percent of the votes. In contracts, the SPÖ gained almost four percentage posts and elected mayors in Andau, Gattendorf, Geresdorf-Sulz, Heugraben, Horitschon, Lutzmannsburg, Oberdorf im Burgenland, Sankt Michael im Burgenland and in Unterrabnitz-Schwendgraben.

Austria has presidential elections set for this Sunday, October 9th. The country will also elect a new parliament in 2024, with incumbents ÖVO and Green plummeting on polls and seeing losses in local ballots.

READ ALSO: Austrian presidential elections: Who are the seven candidates?

Nehammer to participate in ‘migration summit’

Austria’s chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) is meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and the head of the Hungarian state Viktor Orbán in Budapest to discuss migration issues as refugee numbers taking the Balkan route have increased, daily Die Presse reported.

The government leaders will talk about increasing police cooperation in border protection, combating smugglers and other joint measures to counter illegal migration flows, the Chancellery said.

READ ALSO: Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna’s economy

Police find weapons arsenal in Tyrolean flat

On Saturday, police found an arsenal of weapons in the house of a German man in Tyrol, public broadcaster ORF reported.

The authorities wanted to serve the 47-year-old man with a weapons ban notice, but he stated that he had destroyed his weapons possession card.

During a house search, the police found several weapons and 1,300 rounds of ammunition, as well as various war materials such as a Russian tank night-vision device, armour-piercing ammunition, a machete, a crossbow and brass knuckles.

In addition, a human skull was discovered. The 47-year-old said he had bought it at a flea market in Germany.

READ ALSO: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

MFG Federal Executive Gerhard Pöttler resigns from party

The MFG loses one of its central figures shortly after missing out on entry into the Tyrolean parliament.

Gerhard Pöttler, the federal secretary, federal finance officer and head of the regional group in Salzburg, wrote a letter informing of his departure from the party, the newspaper Der Standard reported.

The reason for the move was probably internal differences with other party members.

“I have come to the conclusion that some of the people in our organisation are no longer putting into practice what we promised our supporters. I can’t and don’t want to be a part of that any more,” Pöttler wrote. In his view, MFG had already become ingratiated with the existing system.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who are MFG – Austria’s vaccine-sceptic party?


Screenshot from ZAMG

In the northern regions from Salzburg eastwards to western Lower Austria and Upper Styria, clouds will continue to dominate and there will be some rain, Austria’s meteorological institute ZAMG said.

The snow line is around 1700m above sea level.

Otherwise, it will be cloudy with only a few showers and the sun will shine at times, more in the afternoon. It will be much sunnier on the southern side of the Alps. From Upper Austria eastwards moderate to brisk, in the east occasionally strong wind from west to northwest. Maximum temperatures will be betwee 11C and 19C.

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 Tuesday

More train strikes likely ahead, Vienna announces €200 energy payout, masks in public transport and more news from Austria on Tuesday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
  • Employers have ‘little hope’ in negotiations with rail workers

After a 24 hours strike that affected all nationwide trains in Austria, employers have “little hope” in the negotiations with trade unions, the newspaper Der Standard reported.

They expect further industrial action from the transport and services union Vida. The parties in the dispute have irreconcilable demands, the newspaper added. On Monday, the head of trade union Vida said there was a lot of “catching up” to do in terms of wages for the approximately 50,000 railway workers and that what employers had offered was not nearly sufficient.

Vida, the trade union representing the workers, has asked for a wage increase of €400 – an average increase of around 12 percent. In response, Austria’s Chamber of Commerce offered a rise of 8 percent.

READ ALSO: Train strike: What are your rights in Austria if your trip is cancelled or delayed?

  • Vienna Energy Bonus: How to get a €200 payout

The City of Vienna announced on Monday, November 28th, more government assistance to cushion rising costs for residents. 

Viennese households will receive €200 in a new “energy bonus’, according to statements given by the City Councillor for Finance Peter Hanke (SPÖ). The administration said the bonus would benefit about two-thirds of all city homes, as The Local reported on Monday. Here is what you need to know about the scheme and how to apply for the benefit.

  • No road traffic chaos after the train strike

There was no vast traffic chaos on Monday – especially at the entrances to the city of Vienna.

Commuters had, as far as possible, organised substitutes for the train or stayed in their home offices. “The morning peaks lasted a little longer than usual, but there were no kilometre-long traffic jams,” said a spokeswoman for Asfinag, the public company that operates the autobahn. 

She said they had increased route staff and cancelled daytime roadworks to keep roads clear to relieve the situation. After the coronavirus pandemic, companies and workers were also better used to switching to working from home. 

READ ALSO: Strikes in Austria: How will transport and services be affected?

  • Mask mandate to stay unchanged during Vienna winter

The FFP2 mask mandate in the Austrian capital Vienna is likely to stay in place during the whole winter, Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) told Austrian media.

He said: “It makes sense to keep certain measures in place during the colder months of the year.”

The head of the city assumes that the rules will apply until the end of winter because the situation is not likely to ease significantly during the cold season. In any case, he said he would continue to consult with his team of experts. “They have guided me well through the crisis so far,” Ludwig added.

Measures such as PCR tests and the compulsory use of FFP2 for hospital visitors will also stay in place for the time being.

READ ALSO: Masks against Covid and flu: What’s ahead for Austria this winter

  • Austrian satisfaction with politics plummets

Satisfaction with the political system in Austria has fallen to its lowest level since the survey began in 2018 in SORA’s annual Democracy Monitor. More people than ever also want a “strong leader”.

In concrete terms, only 34 percent of those surveyed now think that the political system in Austria functions well. Five years ago, satisfaction in the “Democracy Monitor” was 30 percentage points higher (64 percent).

Trust in institutions also continued to decline year-on-year: the federal government is currently trusted by 33 percent (down nine percentage points), parliament by 38 percent (down eight percentage points) and the federal president by 53 percent (down six percentage points). 

Thirty-eight percent of respondents also currently cannot find a political party that represents their concerns, compared to only 13 percent in 2018.

According to SORA, one reason for the loss of confidence is that political actors are failing to address particularly important issues in a way that inspires confidence. 

Most people name inflation (42 percent) as their most pressing political concern at the moment, followed by economic inequality (20 percent), climate change (15 percent), the war in Ukraine (14 percent) and immigration and integration (13 percent).

READ ALSO: Why is support for Austria’s far-right FPÖ rising?

  • National vaccination panel updates recommendations

The Austrian National Vaccination Panel has updated its recommendations on Covid vaccination on several points. 

Among other things, the protein vaccine from Sanofi and the variant vaccine for children aged five years and older from BioNTech/Pfizer were included in the recommendation. In addition, it is specified that a further booster vaccination (5th dose) is currently not yet generally recommended, except for risk groups and persons over 60 years of age. 

In order to ensure the best possible protection during the cold season, the experts continue to strongly recommend the completion of the basic immunisation as well as the booster vaccination (totalling four doses).

READ ALSO: Six things to know about visiting a doctor in Austria

  • Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

Today it will remain mostly cloudy in Austria, the country’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said. 

In the western half, it will rain or snow a little at times. The snow line will be between 700 and 1200m above sea level. There are only a few temporarily sunny areas, and the sun is most likely to come through briefly in the afternoon in the centre of the country. 

The wind will be light in the east, moderate to brisk from north to southeast. In the afternoon, temperatures should be between 0C and 7C.

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].