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Today in Austria For Members

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
Austria's Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer answers journalists' questions as he arrives for a summit at EU parliament in Brussels, on February 9, 2023. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP)

Austrian chancellor threatens energy suppliers, SPÖ leader Rendi-Wagner withdraws completely from politics and more news from Austria on Friday.

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  • Austrian chancellor threatens energy suppliers as energy prices fail to drop

Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) is unhappy with electricity and gas prices in Austria, Austrian media has reported. 

"Some energy companies have not passed on the now lower prices on the market," Nehammer said on Thursday.

"We can no longer be papered over, billions in profits are being made, and at the same time, we are always told with crocodile tears how difficult the situation is on the world market."

With the coalition's new profits tax, a domino effect should occur, the chancellor stated.

However, if suppliers continue to resist passing on prices, "we will not shy away from adopting further measures," the chancellor said. Nehammer did not specify what these measures might be.

The chancellor also hopes that falling energy prices will lead to lower food prices. Because currently, supermarkets would use the high cost of electricity as an argument why they, too, would have to sell their goods more expensively. If electricity prices fall, there will be no more excuses for retailers, the chancellor added.

READ ALSO: How Austria wants energy firms to lower prices for customers

  • Everything that changes in Austria in June 2023

From the end of Covid restrictions to measures against inflation and tax changes, here's everything that changes in Austria in June 2023 that could affect the lives of foreigners in the country.

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  • SPÖ leader Rendi-Wagner withdraws completely from politics

Pamela Rendi-Wagner, the outgoing leader of the centre-left party SPÖ, has decided to leave politics entirely. A spokesperson confirmed that she will resign from her seat in the National Council by the end of June at the latest. As she had previously announced, Rendi-Wagner is making a definitive break from politics.

If there are no changes in the Social Democratic lists, Rendi-Wagner's mandate will be transferred to former State Secretary Muna Duzdar.

In the SPÖ member poll for the party chairmanship and top candidacy in the upcoming National Council election, Rendi-Wagner came in third place. Although she was only slightly behind Hans Peter Doskozil and Andreas Babler, she chose not to seek re-election at the extraordinary party congress scheduled for the following week. Rendi-Wagner plans to ensure a smooth transition and will not hastily resign from her current positions.

READ ALSO: Austria’s Social Democratic leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner resigns

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  • Bonnie Tyler and RAF Camora: What are the highlights of Austria’s 2023 Donauinselfest?

The Austrian Donauinselfest is known as the largest free open-air music festival in Europe, and it happens yearly on Vienna's Danube island. The festival attracts around three million visitors over its three days of events from June 23rd to June 25th.

The festival has been happening yearly since 1983 on the 21.1-kilometre river island. This year, it has several different areas and 13 stages, according to the official website. Visitors can expect more than 700 hours of the program.

The Donauinselfest aims to foster curiosity and facilitate meaningful encounters, according to Barbara Novak, the SPÖ regional party secretary. During the program presentation, Novak emphasised the festival's diverse offerings, ranging from a wide selection of music to various recreational and sporting activities and gastronomic delights.

You can read more about the programme HERE.

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  • ÖVP Presidium approves new Salzburg government

After concluding government negotiations in Salzburg, the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) held a party executive committee meeting on Thursday evening to officially approve the coalition pact with the Freedom Party (FPÖ) for the period of 2023-2028, broadcaster ORF reported. 

The details of the working agreement for the next five years, including the division of departments and the composition of the first black-blue state government in the province, will be presented on Friday.

As anticipated, the decision of the ÖVP officials was unanimous following a presentation of the negotiation outcomes. On the other hand, the FPÖ provincial party leadership met later in the evening, and the approval of the coalition pact is considered a mere formality.

The discussions regarding the content of the new government program were mainly concluded last week, with the past few days focused on resolving remaining issues. However, reports suggest that there have been no significant differences between the parties over the past three weeks, ORF said.

This week, the attention was still directed towards assigning portfolios. However, no major surprises are expected in this regard. Governor Wilfried Haslauer had previously emphasised the ÖVP's intention to retain "its" portfolios. Therefore, it is unlikely that the Freedom Party will secure any key portfolios, except for where they might fill the vacancies left by the Greens and NEOS following their departure from the state government.

Unlike in previous state elections, the new state government is now facing protests. A demonstration against the black-blue coalition was announced in the state capital on Whit Monday. Furthermore, on June 14th, there will be a "public funeral procession" followed by a funeral banquet.

READ ALSO: Five things you should know about the Salzburg elections

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  • Don't forget:

Monday, May 29th, is a public holiday in Austria. Most shops and supermarkets will be closed - they will also be closed as always on Sundays. Plan ahead to avoid being with an empty fridge early in the week. 

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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