SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Traffic jams and packed trains warning, concerns over gas, no subway for Graz and more news on Wednesday.

Traffic in Austria
Roads are expected to be busy over the coming days in Austria. (Photo by CALLE TOERNSTROEM / AFP)

Packed trains and traffic jams expected in coming days

Trains and roads in Austria are expected to be packed over the coming days as people head off on their holidays. The ÖBB train website warns people should make a reservation on trains before travelling, and says it will provide up to 10,000 additional seats on Ascension Day, Pentecost and Corpus Christi.

The number of train travellers in Austria has increased sharply due to the waning of the pandemic, the Klima ticket and the high cost of petrol, broadcaster ORF reports. 

According to the Austrian motorist club ÖAMTC, drivers can expect “heavy traffic” over the long weekend. 

READ MORE:

Graz decides against subway

The city of Graz has finally decided against building a subway, but has instead decided to build two new S-Bahns instead and a tunnel through the city centre, it was revealed on Tuesday. Experts spent a year examining five concepts before coming up with the decision. The subway was the most expensive option, and would have cost more than 3.5 billion euros, whereas the two S-Bahn tunnel projects are significantly cheaper, costing  2 .2 billion euros, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Experts weigh in over mask requirement

As The Local reported on Tuesday, masks will no longer be required in Austria’s public transport and essential retail from the beginning of June. As usual, Vienna will keep stricter rules in place than the rest of the country, and require masks on public transport. However, experts meeting in Vienna from the research platform “Covid-19 Future Operations” on Tuesday called for the government to be prepared for the “worst case scenario” in the autumn and winter. 

Some experts were critical of the relaxed rules in place from June, with virologist Dorothea van Laer saying she would have kept the mask requirement in pharmacies and in essential shops in order to be able to protect vulnerable groups, broadcaster ORF reports.

READ MORE: 

Concerns over emergency plans for gas

Businesses are raising concerns that no emergency plans are in place in the event Russia stops delivering gas to Austria. Austria is one of the most dependent countries on Russian gas in the EU. Der Standard reports Voestalpine, a large steel company based in Linz, has had only “sporadic” talks with the government about the possible crisis. Katharina Koßdorff, Managing Director of the Food Industry Association says there are no “concrete emergency plans” for this scenario, adding the Austrian food industry is almost 100 percent reliant on Russian gas. 

Austria has started to buy gas for its strategic reserve. On Monday the government spent almost one billion euros on 7.7 terawatt hours (TWh) of gas. Leonore Gewessler’s climate ministry, which is responsible for energy, said it was unclear where the gas comes from, as there are no proofs of origin on the gas market. It can be assumed that Russian gas makes up part of what has been purchased, according to a spokesman for Gewessler (Greens).

READ MORE: REVEALED: What is Austria’s emergency plan if Russia cuts gas supply

Van der Bellen speaks out over citizenship and Austria’s military

Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen has told the Kleine Zeitung newspaper he believes in making it easier to become naturalized as an Austrian. In the interview he said the hurdles for obtaining citizenship were currently “too high”. He has also given an interview to Der Standard in which he says Austria should spend more on its army and increase the number of diplomats, though he draws the line at joining NATO, arguing Austria does not need to be so “bellicose”.

Van der Bellen has gathered further support for his aim to be re-elected in the autumn from the ÖVP government team. Although the People’s Party does not officially recommend his election, State Secretary Florian Tursky (ÖVP)  has said he would support his fellow Tyrolean. However, Van der Bellen will face competition from the head of Austria’s Beer Party Dominik Wlazny, who also goes by the name of his alter ego, Marco Pogo, as well as candidates from the anti-vaccination MFG party and the far right FPÖ. 

READ ALSO: Could presidential criticism lead to Austrian citizenship rule changes?

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Cancellations for Austrian Airlines, Vienna's Mayor targeted by cyber criminals, hot weather on the way and more news from Austria on Monday.

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

Austrian Airlines cancel dozens of flights

Austrian Airlines had to cancel dozens of flights at the weekend due to staff taking sick leave after catching Covid-19. Broadcaster ORF reported 42 of the planned 346 flights to and from Vienna were canceled on Sunday. At the moment, city flights in Europe such as Berlin, Stuttgart, Zurich, Barcelona and Sofia are particularly affected. 

READ MORE: Vienna airport reassures travellers over summer concerns

A press spokeswoman for Austrian Airlines told the Ö1 programme that passengers would be informed immediately if their flight changed and rebooked on other flights if possible. Nevertheless, AUA recommends its passengers to check the flight status online at Austrian.com before driving to the airport.

READ ALSO: Austria sees scores of flight cancellations after airline staff contract Covid

Vienna’s mayor targeted by cybercriminals

It emerged at the weekend that Vienna’s Mayor Ludwig (SPÖ) had taken part in a video conversation on Wednesday with a deep fake whom he believed to be the Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko,. The mayors of Berlin and Madrid also reported being targeted by someone pretending to be the former Ukrainian heavyweight boxer turned politician.

On Saturday the City of Vienna’s official account put out a statement that Ludwig appeared to have been the victim of a “serious case of cybercrime”.

Now the Foreign Ministry will ask the relevant embassy to be contacted before making such phone calls or video calls to prevent further deep fake incidents.

The Ministry of the Interior announced that state security would now investigate the incident. It called for a recording of the video call to assess what information had been given out and clarify whether a criminal offense was committed.

Vienna gives out fourth vaccination to anyone aged 12 and over

The City of Vienna has made it easier for anyone to have a fourth coronavirus vaccination. From now on, everyone in Vienna aged 12 and over whose third vaccination was six months ago can get the booster vaccination from any vaccination centre. 

Presidential election date set

The date forAustria’s federal presidential election has been set. The Federal Chancellery announced on Sunday the election will take place on October 9th. The date will be officially fixed on Wednesday by the Federal Government by a decision of the Council of Ministers.

In addition to the incumbent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, ex-Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) politician Gerald Grosz and  “Beer Party” chief Marco Pogo have announced they will run fro the post. The FPÖ has said it will put up a candidate but has not named any individual so far.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How does Austria’s presidential election work?

Austria’s highest mountain hut can’t find staff

Austria’s highest mountain hut, the Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte on the Großglockner, is urgently looking for a chef. Every day, the six-person hut team has to cater for up to 70 mountaineers and an additional 15 mountain guides, which is really tough, landlord Toni Riepler told broadcaster ORF. He said if possible he would love to find someone to start tomorrow. 

Heatwave coming to Eastern Austria

It’s going to be hot today on Monday, with temperatures reaching up to 34 and 35 degrees. It’s going to get even hotter by the end of the week. Temperatures are expected to reach between 35 and 38 degrees on Friday in Eastern Austria.

READ MORE:

SHOW COMMENTS