Today in Austria For Members

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

The Local Austria
The Local Austria - [email protected]
Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Vienna's Stephansdom, in the city's first district (Photo by Dan V on Unsplash)

Warnings against the FPÖ rise in Austria, man escapes Korneuburg prison, Climate change to affect incomes in Austria and more news from Austria on Thursday.


Psychologists Warn of Right-Wing Extremism Surge

Renowned Austrian psychotherapist Klaus Ottomeyer spearheads a coalition of 140 psychologists, psychotherapists, and social scientists from Austria and Germany in a cautionary message to voters. With national elections looming in Austria and state elections forthcoming in Germany, the collective highlights the escalating risk of right-wing extremism.

The letter singles out FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl, who has adopted the "People's Chancemoniker llor" and vows imminent "redemption" for the purportedly oppressed populace. Kickl's penchant for denigrating opponents is emphasised, citing instances such as labelling government officials as 'torturers' and resorting to derogatory remarks about individuals' physical appearances.

In Germany, the AfD's Björn Höcke draws criticism for advocating "well-tempered cruelty" in deportation plans. The coalition denounces such rhetoric, cautioning against the degradation of foreigners and political adversaries.

The psychologists condemn the Identitarians' ideology as a dangerous form of large-group narcissism with claims to superiority, warning of its potential to incite ethnic cleansing. They echo sentiments expressed by German Catholic bishops earlier, who deemed the AfD a threat to human dignity.

The coalition concludes by underscoring the grave threat posed by FPÖ, AfD, and Identitarians to democracy and public health.

Four of the best hidden villages in Austria's Salzkammergut region

Instead of the crowded village of Hallstatt, you can enjoy four other cute and historical villages while visiting Salzkammergut.

Manhunt Underway After Inmate Escapes Korneuburg Prison

A 23-year-old Austrian man sparked a search after escaping the Korneuburg prison in Lower Austria on Tuesday. Authorities confirmed the escape but have not disclosed how he broke free.

While labelled a non-violent offender, the search continues.  He was nearing the end of his sentence, having reportedly completed work release programs without problems.


Austrian Tycoon Rene Benko Under Fraud Investigation

His lawyer confirmed on Tuesday that Rene Benko, head of the Signa property group, is under investigation for alleged fraud.

Prosecutors suspect Benko misled an Austrian bank about Signa's finances to secure a €25 million loan renewal last year. Austrian radio station ORF first reported the news.

Benko's lawyer, Norbert Wess, denies the allegations and emphasises full cooperation with the authorities. "We are confident these claims are unfounded," Wess stated.

The investigation by Austria's anti-corruption prosecutor includes Benko, another individual, and a Signa company. The unnamed bank involved confirmed Benko personally negotiated the loan extension.


Climate Change to Cut Global Incomes, Vienna Among Worst Hit in Austria

A new study warns of a significant drop in global income due to climate change, with Austria facing substantial losses, particularly in Vienna.

Researchers predict a 19 percent decrease in global income by 2049 compared to a scenario without climate change. Even aggressive emissions reductions now wouldn't prevent this decline. Austria's eastern regions, including Vienna (15.7 percent loss), are expected to suffer more than the west and south (under 10 percent loss).

The study, published in Nature, analysed economic and climate data from over 1600 regions worldwide. The PIK Institute behind the research claims the cost of mitigating climate change is six times cheaper than the financial damage it would cause.

The projected income decrease is linked to extreme weather events and declining agricultural productivity. Warmer eastern Austria with flatter terrain is more susceptible to these impacts, leading to a higher projected loss.


Vienna Launches German Language Offensive for Students

Vienna is ramping up German language support for students struggling in school. City Councillor Wiederkehr cited a rise in the so-called "exceptional pupils," often children of recent immigrants, who lack sufficient German skills to keep up.

Family reunification is critical, with many children arriving with little prior schooling and limited German. Wiederkehr said German fluency as essential, not optional.

The plan tackles the issue at multiple stages. Kindergarten will see pilot programs for high-risk children and an expansion of language support staff. Libraries will offer expanded "Playful German Learning" programs.

Summer German courses will increase by 10 percent for existing students, offering 3,840 spots. Strong performance in these courses could lead to transitioning into regular classes by fall.


If you have any questions about life in Austria, ideas for articles, or news tips for The Local, you can contact us at [email protected] or leave a comment below.



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also