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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

Inquiry commission on Wien Energie begins, verdict on Leonie-case expected for today, province leaders meeting and more news from Austria on Friday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
  • Austria starts inquiry committee over Wien Energie

Starting on Friday at 10 am at the Vienna City Hall, the City Council’s investigative commission on the Wien Energie case will meet every two weeks.

On the initiative of the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), it will investigate the events surrounding the dramatic financial needs of Wien Energie that became known in the summer. The commission can summon people to testify and request documents. 

They will focus on two issues. 

The first concerns the extent to which Mayor Michael Ludwig and City Finance Councillor Peter Hanke have exercised their ownership rights regarding Wien Energie, which is wholly owned by the city via Wiener Stadtwerke. Specifically, the commission wants to know whether the two SPÖ politicians reacted in time and appropriately to the price increases in the electricity markets in the summer. 

The second matter revolves around Ludwig’s emergency powers as head of the city, with which he granted Wien Energie loans totalling €1.4 billion. It is to be clarified whether this procedure was legally compliant and whether Ludwig should have informed committees such as the City Senate earlier.

READ ALSO: Why did Wien Energie ask for €6 billion from the Austrian government?

  • Austrian citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a driving offence?

Naturalisation processes may be on the rise in Austria, but citizenship is still hard to get, and any mistake could mean you miss out on the opportunity. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Verdict on the case of the death of 13-year old that shocked Austria expected on Friday

The court case about the killed 13-year-old, Leonie W., is coming to an end, with a verdict expected on Friday. 

Zubaidullah R. (24), Ibraulhaq A. (19) and Ali H. (20) allegedly mixed ecstasy tablets into a drink for Leonie W. and then raped her in June 2021, according to prosecutors. The girl did not survive. She died of a fatal triple overdose and by suffocation inside the apartment of one of the defendants in Vienna-Donaustadt.

The men all admitted to having had sexual intercourse with a minor. However, they claim it had been consensual.

The verdicts are expected on Friday. In case of a guilty verdict, Zubaidullah R. could face ten, 20 years or life as he was older than 21 at the time of the alleged crime. Ibraulhaq A. and Ali H. each face up to 20 years.

READ ALSO: Fall-Leonie: charges filed in case of death of a 13-year-old girl in Vienna

  • Province leaders to meet in Vienna

Vienna’s mayor – and provincial governor – Michael Ludwig (SPÖ), is hosting a conference with the provincial governors on Friday. 

At the meeting in Vienna’s City Hall, the heads of the provinces will discuss, among other things, fiscal matters, broadcaster ORF reported. They had already announced in advance that they wanted a bigger slice of the revenue shares in future. But the energy crisis is also a “central focus”.

“Rising energy prices and their consequences for the economy and society are among the greatest current challenges”, the provincial governors said in a joint statement on Thursday. 

The conference will, therefore, also discuss a motion calling on the federal government to present “as soon as possible” an energy protection umbrella for business and labour as well as all households to cushion the high energy costs for Austria’s companies.

READ ALSO: Vienna Energy Bonus: How to get a €200 payout

  • Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

Dense clouds will cover the sky; in the south, there may be some sleet and snow at low altitudes, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said. 

The snow line will be between 500 and 900m above sea level in the west. In the afternoon, the snowfall will decrease in the south. In the northern half, it may continue to snow a little.

Towards evening the snowfall will stop almost everywhere. The wind will be mostly light in the east, partly moderate from northeast to southeast. Daytime highs are between 0C and 5C.

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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