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

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (R) arrives with Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, Karl Nehammer (L) ahead of their meeting at the Chigi Palace, in Rome, on May 2, 2023. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

Centre-right and far-right negotiate coalition in Salzburg, Nehammer and Meloni 'on the same page' regarding migration, inflation reaches leisure and travel costs and more news from Austria on Wednesday.


  • Centre-right and far-right negotiate coalition in Salzburg

The Salzburg ÖVP (centre-right) announced on Tuesday that it would negotiate with the FPÖ (far-right) about forming the next Salzburg state government, according to the provincial governor and party leader Wilfried Haslauer. 

He cited the lack of a viable government with the SPÖ as the reason for this decision. Haslauer expressed regret that the Alliance for Salzburg he had sought finally failed, as there were too many differences of opinion with the Greens.

The FPÖ, which became the second strongest party with 25.8 percent, was unanimously chosen as the preferred partner. 

Haslauer dispelled rumours of resignation and will remain governor. "Personal sensitivities have to take a back seat," said the politician, emphasising that the task is to form a viable government. 

He had openly expressed disapproval of the FPÖ federal leader's tone during the election campaign but said his reservations about the head of the far-right party, Herbert Kickl, would remain.

READ ALSO: Why is support for the Communist Party rising in Austria?

  • How to (legally) avoid paying the ORF TV and radio fee in Austria?

Austria is instituting an 'ORF fee' to support the public broadcaster that every household will have to pay from 2024. But is there any way to avoid the payment?

  • Nehammer and Meloni 'on the same page' regarding migration

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) met at Palazzo Chigi in Rome on Tuesday to discuss their countries' cooperation on migration, according to an ORF report. Meloni praised the "constructive cooperation" between Italy and Austria on the issue of migration, saying that the two countries share the same line and vision for tackling the problem.

Chancellor Nehammer emphasised the importance of building a sustainable alliance in the fight against illegal migration and organised crime. He highlighted the need to put the issue of migration back on the agenda and garner the support of countries that must bear the burden of protecting the external borders. Nehammer said the European asylum system has failed and called for action to address the issue.

The meeting between the two leaders comes amid increasing pressure on European countries to address the ongoing migrant crisis. Italy and Austria have both faced significant challenges in managing migration flows and are working to find ways to cooperate more effectively to address the issue. 

READ ALSO: Migration Economy: Who are the migrants starting businesses in Austria?


  • Austria to return Parthenon marbles to Greece

A Vienna museum is currently engaged in discussions with the Greek government to return two marble pieces of the Parthenon to Greece, according to Austria's foreign minister. 

The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna currently holds just two small fragments from the Parthenon's northern frieze. However, Greece sees this move as a significant step forward by Greece in its efforts to secure the return of other items from different countries - particularly the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum in London. 

The Greek government hopes that with each agreement to return pieces to Athens, there will be increasing positive momentum in talks regarding the return of other pieces held elsewhere. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg expressed optimism about the negotiations, saying, "I am very hopeful that the talks can move on very quickly and the marbles will be on display in Athens."


  • Inflation reaches leisure and travel costs

Inflation in Austria has been a topic of concern in recent months, and the latest estimate by Statistics Austria shows that it is still on the rise. 

The inflation rate in April is expected to be 9.8 percent, which is an increase from the 9.2 percent rate in March. This increase is particularly notable in the areas of leisure, travel, and services, according to Statistics Austria Director General Tobias Thomas.

This increase in inflation has surprised experts at the Economic Research Institute (WIFO), who had predicted a decline. WIFO inflation expert Josef Baumgartner stated that the cause of the increase is not yet clear, and further analysis will be required once detailed figures are published in a couple of weeks. However, Baumgartner's "first guess" is that the price increases in travel and flights may have contributed to the rise in inflation.

These developments in inflation are concerning, as they could impact the cost of living for Austrians, particularly in the areas of leisure and travel. However, it remains to be seen whether the inflation rate will continue to rise or stabilise in the coming months remains to be seen.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Can Austria’s government get inflation under control?


  • Police find a body that could be of missing American woman

After a strongly decomposed female corpse was found near the Laudachsees (district Gmunden) on Monday, it seems likely that it could be the missing 22-year-old American woman who disappeared in mid-March, Austrian media reported. 

The search for the young woman had been ongoing since March 17th, and her cell phone data had been analysed to locate her. This led the search teams first to Laakirchen and later to an area on the east side of the Traunstein, near the Laudachsee.

Despite search operations, the young woman could not be found. However, on May 1st, hikers spotted something suspicious in the snow off the Gassnersteig near the Laudachsee and alerted the mountain rescue and police. The area was just outside the last searched area, and the search teams discovered the remains of a female corpse.

Apparently, the body had been lying under a blanket of snow until recently and had, therefore, not been discovered earlier. The discovery, along with a backpack that could be linked to the woman, has led to the belief that the 22-year-old American woman who had been missing for several weeks might have met a tragic end.

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