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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Final election campaign days ahead of presidential election, Austria increases its defence budget, free flu vaccination campaign and more news from Austria on Friday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Vienna to have sunny autumn weather this weekend (Photo by Mohammad Ali Niksejel on Unsplash)

Final spurt in the presidential election campaign

Austria’s presidential campaign is coming to an end as the election approaches on Sunday, October 9th. On Friday, almost all candidates will make their last public appearances.

Van der Bellen will close his campaign in Wiener Marx-Palast at 4 pm. Before that, ex-FPÖ and BZÖ politician Gerald Grosz will kick things off on Ballhausplatz in the morning, according to the newspaper Der Standard.

Also on Friday, Beer Party leader Dominik Wlazny invites his supporters to another event. At 5 pm, he will start his tour finale on Vienna’s Stephansplatz.

FPÖ candidate Walter Rosenkranz will also take to the traditional blue campaign field from 5 pm. He is inviting his supporters to the Viktor-Adler-Markt in Vienna, where he will be supported by Vienna’s FPÖ leader Dominik Nepp and federal party chairman Herbert Kickl.

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

Austria increases defence budget for 2023

The Austrian government on Thursday announced a 22.29 percent increase to the 2023 defence budget, which will total €3.31 billion.

“We don’t want just to give short-term answers, but rather make targeted investments in areas that will make Austria stronger,” Finance Minister Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) said.

READ ALSO: Austria’s civil defence alarm: What you should know about the warning siren system

Vienna announces free flu vaccinations

This year, the City of Vienna is again offering free flu vaccinations – and it’s possible to get the shots in combination with a coronavirus vaccine. The vaccination campaign starts on November 2nd, the government said.

Everyone can get the vaccine, including babies aged seven months or older. It is not necessary to have a primary residence in the Austrian capital. The influenza vaccine campaign is aimed mainly at people over 65, with chronic diseases, children and medical staff. However, vaccination is recommended for anyone who wants to protect themselves.

After two winters without a flu wave in Austria, influenza could make a more significant comeback due to the greatly reduced coronavirus measures, the authorities warned. The vaccination appointment can be made via the Impfservice Portal.

READ ALSO: Reader question: How do I get a flu vaccine in Austria?

Opening hours of Graz Main Post Office reduced

The main post office in Graz is heavily overloaded, 5min reported, mainly due to the high demand from people seeking to get their Klimabonus or send in their mailed election ballots.

Still, instead of increasing the offers, the city’s main post office at Neutorgasse is shortening working hours.

Those seeking postal services will have to reach them from 8 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 5:30 pm – the office is closed for one hour longer over lunch and finishes up for the day half an hour earlier.

READ ALSO: Cost of living: Austria’s postal service announces prices increases

Vienna announces new budget distribution

The City of Vienna has announced a package to relieve the burden on Vienna’s district budgets, giving district councils “the necessary room for manoeuvre”.

The new budget includes a €23 million one-off funding to help the district settle debts connected with structural and population growth, especially considering recent rising building costs. Additionally, the city government is increasing the budget for green spaces by €20 million.

The city will also take over from the district the energy expenses – which would amount to around €20 million. Finally, the reform also changed how funds would be distributed, considering the number of jobs in each district. According to the Vienna government, this provides “a positive incentive for efforts to attract businesses to the district”.

READ ALSO: Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

Friday will bring widespread sunny, autumnal weather again, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said.

During the day, a southeasterly to easterly wind will blow in the east. Daytime highs are between 17 and 23 degrees.

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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