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

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
A person typing on a laptop. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

New TV and radio fee announced, Lower Austria government takes office, the 'Brunnenmarkt' controversy and more news from Austria on Friday.


  • REVEALED: How much will people in Austria have to pay for TV and radio contribution fees?

Austria has announced more details on the planned changes to its GIS, the public TV and radio fee that funds broadcaster ORF. Here's what you can expect.

  • Lower Austria government takes office

The controversial ÖVP-FPÖ government, an alliance between centre-right and far-right, has taken office in Austria's largest province, Lower Austria.

For the first time, the ÖVP leads the province without an absolute majority and in coalition with another party, but the right-wing nationalist government is far from not having an opposition. Therefore, the current re-elected governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP), will have to navigate a hostile parliament.

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


  • Right-wing politician causes controversy after 'market' criticism

Vienna's head of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), Karl Mahrer, released a controversial video on his social media. In it, he appears walking around the city's Brunnenmarkt, a street market in the 16th District.

Mahrer then complains about the number of immigrants, more precisely "Syrians, Afghans and Arabs", working in the stalls, saying they have "taken over". Furthermore, he criticised an alleged underrepresentation of local stallholders and the allocation by the Market Office. 

With its traditionally international offer, the market represents for Mahrer a "symbol of failed integration". In addition, the area towards the Gürtel has become an insecurity zone where drug trafficking is a problem, he said.

The comments were seen as xenophobic and racist by Austrian political scientists, including writer and analyst Natascha Strobl, who tweeted: "Do you know how to recognise racists? It doesn't matter at all what migrants do. They are interpreted badly. If they receive unemployment benefits, it's bad; if they earn money and are self-employed, it's bad - they can never win".

READ ALSO: What measures against foreigners is Austria’s far-right trying to take?


  • Red-White-Red Card new simpler rules approved

The Social Affairs Committee of the National Council has approved simplifications to the Red-White-Red Card, broadcaster  ORF reported. 

Regular seasonal workers - for example, in tourism and agriculture - will in the future only have to prove German language skills at level A1 - instead of A2 as before - in order to gain access to the Red-White-Red Card, as reported by the parliamentary correspondence today.

Furthermore, language skills in French, Spanish and Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BKS) at the B1 level will be considered in the points catalogue of the Red-White-Red Card with five points for key employees, skilled workers in shortage occupations and start-up founders.

READ ALSO: COMPARED: Germany’s Chancenkarte vs Austria’s Red-White-Red card for skilled non-EU workers

  • Austrian city of Graz announces rent brake

Graz mayor Elke Kahr (of the left-wing KPÖ) said on Thursday that rents for municipal apartments wouldn't increase by 8.6 percent (in line with the inflation rate for 2022). Instead, there would be a maximum two percent increase - and a further four percent in 2026.

The mayor of Graz is also not sparing in her criticism of the federal government.

"The same could have been done at the federal level, but that did not happen, which is incomprehensible," she said. "It's not about relieving the big landlords now, but a price increase of this magnitude puts people in distress, and these one-off payments don't really help."

READ MORE: Austrian city of Graz announces rent brake

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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