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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

SPÖ gets significant results in Burgenland elections, chancellor to participate in 'migration summit', weapons arsenal found in Tyrol and more news from Austria on Monday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
L-R Roswitha Merz wife of President of Switzerland Hans-Rudolf Merz,Margit Fischer wife of Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Princess Sophie wife of Liechtenstein's Prince Alois meet in Esterhazy castle in Austrian Eisenstadt on October 28, 2009. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Burgenland municipal elections results are in

Austria’s Burgenland state had municipal elections, and the centre-left party SPÖ saw some gains, though centre-right ÖVP kept the absolute majority in the capital Eisenstadt.

Thomas Steiner (ÖVP) lost 1.9 percentage points but still holds the capital with 53.4 percent of the votes. In contracts, the SPÖ gained almost four percentage posts and elected mayors in Andau, Gattendorf, Geresdorf-Sulz, Heugraben, Horitschon, Lutzmannsburg, Oberdorf im Burgenland, Sankt Michael im Burgenland and in Unterrabnitz-Schwendgraben.

Austria has presidential elections set for this Sunday, October 9th. The country will also elect a new parliament in 2024, with incumbents ÖVO and Green plummeting on polls and seeing losses in local ballots.

READ ALSO: Austrian presidential elections: Who are the seven candidates?

Nehammer to participate in ‘migration summit’

Austria’s chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) is meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and the head of the Hungarian state Viktor Orbán in Budapest to discuss migration issues as refugee numbers taking the Balkan route have increased, daily Die Presse reported.

The government leaders will talk about increasing police cooperation in border protection, combating smugglers and other joint measures to counter illegal migration flows, the Chancellery said.

READ ALSO: Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna’s economy

Police find weapons arsenal in Tyrolean flat

On Saturday, police found an arsenal of weapons in the house of a German man in Tyrol, public broadcaster ORF reported.

The authorities wanted to serve the 47-year-old man with a weapons ban notice, but he stated that he had destroyed his weapons possession card.

During a house search, the police found several weapons and 1,300 rounds of ammunition, as well as various war materials such as a Russian tank night-vision device, armour-piercing ammunition, a machete, a crossbow and brass knuckles.

In addition, a human skull was discovered. The 47-year-old said he had bought it at a flea market in Germany.

READ ALSO: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

MFG Federal Executive Gerhard Pöttler resigns from party

The MFG loses one of its central figures shortly after missing out on entry into the Tyrolean parliament.

Gerhard Pöttler, the federal secretary, federal finance officer and head of the regional group in Salzburg, wrote a letter informing of his departure from the party, the newspaper Der Standard reported.

The reason for the move was probably internal differences with other party members.

“I have come to the conclusion that some of the people in our organisation are no longer putting into practice what we promised our supporters. I can’t and don’t want to be a part of that any more,” Pöttler wrote. In his view, MFG had already become ingratiated with the existing system.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who are MFG – Austria’s vaccine-sceptic party?

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

In the northern regions from Salzburg eastwards to western Lower Austria and Upper Styria, clouds will continue to dominate and there will be some rain, Austria’s meteorological institute ZAMG said.

The snow line is around 1700m above sea level.

Otherwise, it will be cloudy with only a few showers and the sun will shine at times, more in the afternoon. It will be much sunnier on the southern side of the Alps. From Upper Austria eastwards moderate to brisk, in the east occasionally strong wind from west to northwest. Maximum temperatures will be betwee 11C and 19C.

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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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Lower Austrian elections, details on increased retirement age are announced, Austrians are having problems affording homes and more news from Austria on Friday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
  • Lower Austria to elect new regional parliament

Austria’s province Lower Austria is set to elect a new regional parliament this Sunday, the 29th. The most recent polls put the local ÖVP branch, the centre-right VPNÖ, in the lead with 37 percent of voting intentions. Next, the far-right FPÖ has 26 percent of the votes, a significant leap from their results in the last elections, when the blue party had 14.8 percent.

In third place, the centre-left SPÖ has 23 percent, while NEOS has 7 percent and Greens 6 percent.

  • EXPLAINED: What is the Austrian integration exam for non-EU nationals?

If you are a third-country citizen in Austria, you will likely have to show German skills and basic knowledge of the democratic system for a residence permit. Here’s what you need to know about the Integration Exam.

  • Austrian government announces details on increased retirement age for women

This week, Austria’s government unveiled detailed plans for raising women’s retirement age to match men’s. Gradually and by 2033, women’s retirement age will rise from 60 to 65.

The exact time timetable has been announced by the federal coalition and should be approved in the National Council next week, the newspaper Der Standard reported. Women born between January 1st and June 30th, 1964, will only be able to start their pension years once they reach 60.5 years old. 

For those born in the second half of 1964, the standard retirement age will be 61. This continues rising until women who were born after 30 June 1968 have a retirement age of 65, as do their male colleagues.

READ ALSO: Five things you need to know about the Austrian pension 

  • Salzburg to get free kindergartens

Children from three to six years old will be able to attend state kindergartens for free in Salzburg starting April, broadcaster ORF reported. The costs of around €13 million will be subsidised entirely by the western state.

The parties couldn’t reach an agreement to relieve the burden of childcare costs for children under the age of three, but the negotiations will continue.

  • FPÖ outraged by ‘anti-democratic’ statements by Van der Bellen

Austria’s Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen recently said that he wouldn’t automatically give FPÖ party leader Herbert Kickl the task of forming a government if the far-right party won the federal elections. 

The statements have caused an uproar within the ranks of the FPÖ, the newspaper Die Presse reported. On Thursday, FPÖ secretary-general Christian Hafenecker said the comments were an “anti-democratic and authoritarian act.” 

On Facebook, Kickl criticised the “arbitrariness of an individual” and ironically commented: “Aha. Very neutral. Very democratic. Very moral. Very tolerant.”.

READ ALSO: Can the Austrian president refuse to appoint a far-right chancellor?

  • Funding for 24-hour care to be increased

The subsidy for 24-hour care at home for people in need of care will be increased retroactively as of January 1st, broadcaster ORF reported. The federal government is expanding the subsidies by 16.67 percent, the Ministry of Social Affairs announced on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Health care reform: Austria to give €2,000 bonus to nursing staff

  • One in there people has problems affording housing

More and more people are having payment problems due to rising housing and energy costs, according to data from the Vienna Chamber of Labor (AK) and Volkshilfe Wien. Already 30 percent of 16- to 69-year-olds fear they will no longer be able to meet their housing costs, reported ORF.

AK expert Thomas Ritt said that financial aid is good and important but that the housing sector should be regulated, for example, by capping rents, which would provide immediate relief for tenants. 

The experts also said other measures are needed, such as allowing only subsidised apartments to be built on federal properties. In addition, there would have to be an effective federal vacancy tax and a restriction on short-term rentals.

READ ALSO: What are Austria’s Social Democratic Party’s plans for freezing rents until 2025?

  • Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

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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