Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Final election campaign days ahead of presidential election, Austria increases its defence budget, free flu vaccination campaign and more news from Austria on Friday.
Final spurt in the presidential election campaign
Austria's presidential campaign is coming to an end as the election approaches on Sunday, October 9th. On Friday, almost all candidates will make their last public appearances.
Van der Bellen will close his campaign in Wiener Marx-Palast at 4 pm. Before that, ex-FPÖ and BZÖ politician Gerald Grosz will kick things off on Ballhausplatz in the morning, according to the newspaper Der Standard.
Also on Friday, Beer Party leader Dominik Wlazny invites his supporters to another event. At 5 pm, he will start his tour finale on Vienna's Stephansplatz.
FPÖ candidate Walter Rosenkranz will also take to the traditional blue campaign field from 5 pm. He is inviting his supporters to the Viktor-Adler-Markt in Vienna, where he will be supported by Vienna's FPÖ leader Dominik Nepp and federal party chairman Herbert Kickl.
Austria increases defence budget for 2023
The Austrian government on Thursday announced a 22.29 percent increase to the 2023 defence budget, which will total €3.31 billion.
"We don't want just to give short-term answers, but rather make targeted investments in areas that will make Austria stronger," Finance Minister Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) said.
Vienna announces free flu vaccinations
This year, the City of Vienna is again offering free flu vaccinations - and it's possible to get the shots in combination with a coronavirus vaccine. The vaccination campaign starts on November 2nd, the government said.
Everyone can get the vaccine, including babies aged seven months or older. It is not necessary to have a primary residence in the Austrian capital. The influenza vaccine campaign is aimed mainly at people over 65, with chronic diseases, children and medical staff. However, vaccination is recommended for anyone who wants to protect themselves.
After two winters without a flu wave in Austria, influenza could make a more significant comeback due to the greatly reduced coronavirus measures, the authorities warned. The vaccination appointment can be made via the Impfservice Portal.
Opening hours of Graz Main Post Office reduced
The main post office in Graz is heavily overloaded, 5min reported, mainly due to the high demand from people seeking to get their Klimabonus or send in their mailed election ballots.
Still, instead of increasing the offers, the city's main post office at Neutorgasse is shortening working hours.
Those seeking postal services will have to reach them from 8 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 5:30 pm - the office is closed for one hour longer over lunch and finishes up for the day half an hour earlier.
Vienna announces new budget distribution
The City of Vienna has announced a package to relieve the burden on Vienna's district budgets, giving district councils "the necessary room for manoeuvre".
The new budget includes a €23 million one-off funding to help the district settle debts connected with structural and population growth, especially considering recent rising building costs. Additionally, the city government is increasing the budget for green spaces by €20 million.
The city will also take over from the district the energy expenses - which would amount to around €20 million. Finally, the reform also changed how funds would be distributed, considering the number of jobs in each district. According to the Vienna government, this provides "a positive incentive for efforts to attract businesses to the district".
Friday will bring widespread sunny, autumnal weather again, Austria's meteorologic institute ZAMG said.
During the day, a southeasterly to easterly wind will blow in the east. Daytime highs are between 17 and 23 degrees.
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