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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Russia's Gazprom again fails to deliver gas through Austria, government to announce pension adjustments, Covid numbers rising and more news from Austria on Tuesday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Covid-19 cases are on the rise in Austria. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

Russia’s Gazprom again won’t deliver gas via Austria

On Saturday, Gazprom suspended gas deliveries to Italy’s Eni, blaming an issue with Austria, as The Local reported.

Austria’s energy regulator said the issue concerned new rules for balance between imports and exports but didn’t have details on the specific Gazprom-Eni contracts. Still, it said the new regulations were presented to the market players “months in advance”.

This Tuesday, Gazprom informed the Italian energy group that it could not confirm the gas supply. Again due to the inability to dispatch gas through Austria.

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

Austrian gas storage facilities are 80 percent full

The gas storage facilities in Austria are now a good 80 percent complete, Austrian media reported.

However, the domestic suppliers, international traders and local industrial companies have paid many times more for the gas stored as a precaution in preparation for the cold season than in 2021.

Households in Austria have already been informed about the additional costs, or they will probably soon receive mail from their supplier. A five- to six-fold increase in the monthly bill is not uncommon, Der Standard said.

Austria’s federal government agrees on pension adjustment

The governing parties ÖVP and Greens have reached an agreement on the adjustment of pensions for 2023, Austrian media reported. The details will be announced this Tuesday by Social Affairs Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) and ÖVP parliamentary party leader August Wöginger.

According to broadcaster ORF, the incomes of about 200,000 pensioners should be increased by about ten percent. For the other pensioners, there will be a socially graduated increase.

READ ALSO: Over half of Austrians on financially shaky ground: survey

Covid numbers on the rise

The number of positive Covid tests and hospital admissions due to the disease has been increasing in Austria for weeks, while progress in the fourth vaccination is stalling, the newspaper Die Presse reported.

However, the good news is that there is no sign of a new, more dangerous variant which could again increase the cases of severe courses of Covid-19, the report added.

Nevertheless, the situation now concerns doctors, and health authorities don’t rule out the return of measures such as an FFP2 mask mandate indoors in the coming months.

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

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

In the southwest, sunshine will predominate after the local fog has dissipated, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said.

In the rest of Austria, there will still be some cloud fields. Isolated rain showers are most likely in the Weinviertel.

In the afternoon, the clouds will decrease and the sun will again return. The clouds will last the longest in the northeast. The daily high temperature will reach 15 to 21 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 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].

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