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News Update Austria


Austrian population to grow by up to 60,000 a year

Austria’s population is set to grow by 60,000 people a year mainly due to immigration, according to a new report by Statistik Austria.

Statistik Austria boss Konrad Pesendorfer said that by 2030 Austria is expected to have 9.31 million inhabitants. Currently, the population stands at around 8.54 million.

Statisticians had to revise figures from last year due to the large number of refugees arriving in Austria this year, who are claiming asylum.

In 2014, 1.45 million people born in a foreign country lived in Austria, around 17 percent of the total population. The number of foreign residents is expected to rise to 2.07 million by 2030, and to 2.51 million by 2060.

Vienna is experiencing the strongest population growth of all the nine states as a result of immigration. Currently foreign-born residents make up 33 percent of the population, and this is expected to increase to more than 40 percent by 2035.

Pesendorfer called for “an active integration policy,” to ensure people with a migration background are not disadvantaged.

Experts from Statistik Austria say the population boost is a necessary one as the “baby-boomer generation” (born between 1955 and 1970) will reach retirement age after 2020, with the number of pensioners increasing in all nine states – putting a strain on Austria’s already stretched pension system.

In Austria as a whole, the elderly population (aged 65 and over) will grow from 18 percent in 2014 to 29 percent by 2060.

Vienna, Lower Austria, Tyrol and Vorarlberg are predicted to have the strongest population growth. Cash-strapped Carinthia is the only state which is expected to see a decrease in population by 2060 (minus six percent).

The number of children and adolescents aged under 19 years is expected to increase by eight percent, from 1.69 million to 1.81 million over the next 20 years.

Life expectancy is predicted to rise to an average of 87.3 years old for men by 2060 (up from 78.9 years), and 90.6 years for women (up from 83.7 years).


Unfair to men?

Austria’s Ombudsman for Equal Treatment has ruled that Ladies’ Nights – where nightclubs and bars offer women free admission and cheap drinks on certain evenings – discriminate against men.

The Gleichbehandlungskommission said it was constantly having to deal with complaints that prices and promotions were dependent on gender – with men saying they were never the ones to benefit from such offers financially.

The Ombud has now issued a report condemning Ladies’ Nights promotions and saying that they violate the Equal Treatment Act – which paves the way for men to sue a nightclub for damages if they believe they have been discriminated against.

“All goods and services offered in the context of commercial activities should be priced regardless of gender,” the report said. It added that events could be marketed as gender-specific but that any goods on offer must be priced the same for men and women.

Bars and clubs have argued that Ladies’ Nights are meant to compensate women for the fact that they generally earn less than men, but the Ombud said this was not relevant.

Equal rights lawyer Ines Grabner-Drews said that “it is unlikely that companies in the entertainment and leisure sector are really concerned about equal pay” and that the real motivation behind Ladies’ Nights is to attract more women to nightclubs, which helps draw in more men.

Cineplexx cinemas in Austria regularly hold Ladies’ Nights – offering a special €8.30 ticket for a romantic movie which includes a small bottle of Martini Asti and sweets, but the small print makes it clear that men can also benefit from the offer.

Vienna’s popular U4 nightclub had a ‘Girls Special’ night until recently, when women got into the club for free, but U4 spokeswoman Lisa Schwarzinger said this was likely to be discontinued. “Of course we can’t be seen to be favouring women with free entry,” she said.


Some restaurants have also had Ladies’ Nights promotions, where female diners are offered a free drink and dessert with their meal.

Twitter buys company from 21-year-old Austrian

A start-up company founded by a 21-year-old Austrian has been bought by Twitter, which has also hired the young technology entrepreneur to work for them in San Francisco.

Computer scientist Felix Krause developed his first app for bicycle routes when he was 16-years-old. After completing HTL training at a higher education institute in Wiener Neustadt he went on to study software engineering at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK, which was where he started his company Fastlane.

After recognising problems with releasing and updating iPhone apps, Krause developed software that made testing and releasing app updates as simple as a click of a button.

Following the release of the first version of the software a year ago, he made it open source and then went on to earn money by developing special modifications tailored for different companies.

His programme ended up with around 15,000 daily users, which led to interest from Twitter who offered to collaborate with Krause. Since October, Fastlane has been part of Twitter’s mobile development platform Fabric and Krause has relocated to San Francisco to work on his project full time.

Austrian granny shreds a million euros

An 85-year-old Austrian cut up almost €1 million ($1.1 million) into tiny pieces in an apparent attempt to spite her heirs, authorities said on Thursday.

After the woman died in a retirement home in Lower Austria, the €950,000 in cash as well as savings accounts books were found shredded on her bed, prosecutors said.

State prosecutor Erich Habitzl confirmed the discovery — first reported in the Kurier newspaper — but said that there was nothing he could do for the relatives.

“The damage of the money in the woman’s property is not a criminal matter, so we have not begun any investigation,” Habitzl told AFP.

Kurier reported however that the woman’s surviving family will have the last laugh, with Austria’s central bank (OeNB) saying it will replace all the cash.

“If the heirs can only find shreds of money and if the origin of the money is assured, then of course it can all be replaced,” Friedrich Hammerschmidt, deputy head of the OeNB cashier division, told Kurier.

“If we didn’t pay out the money then we would be punishing the wrong people.”

Bavaria slams Austria for unchecked refugee flow


Bavaria’s state premier has blasted Austria for waving on thousands of refugees to Germany without informing local authorities and has called on Chancellor Angela Merkel to intervene.

Austria’s failure to tell Bavaria when thousands of refugees are arriving or being brought to the border is causing problems, Horst Seehofer said.

“This behaviour by Austria burdens our neighbourly relationship. You can’t and mustn’t treat one another like this,” he added.

Seehofer said that Merkel’s top priority ought to be limiting what he said were uncontrolled flows of people from Austria into Germany across the Bavarian border.

“It’s the Chancellor’s job to speak with Austria,” he said, adding that the two national governments had decided to introduce the much criticized ‘open-borders’ policy together.

“If I’m not successful [in getting an answer from Berlin] then we will have to consider what options for action we have,” Seehofer told the Passauer Neue Presse – implicitly reiterating his threat to bring in undefined “emergency defence” measures if the federal government doesn’t help.

Bavarian authorities complain that the lack of coordination is leaving them scrambling at the last minute to find resources to welcome the new arrivals.

Late on Monday for instance, around 2,000 refugees crossed on foot into Bavaria, catching local authorities unaware, police said.

Police spokesman Frank Koller said Austria had informed them that nine buses carrying asylum seekers were on their way to Bavaria on Tuesday, but from “unofficial sources, we learnt that there are in actual fact 22 buses on the way”.

“The actual figures unfortunately sharply differ from Austria’s reports,” he said.

Austrian authorities rejected the claims as “a joke”, saying both sides are in constant contact over coordination on the asylum seeker influx. They also criticised Germany’s introduction of a border crossing limit of 50 people per hour.

“Usually we don’t comment on political statements but the fact is that if Austria receives 11,000 people in Spielfeld on a daily basis, Bavaria cannot say that it will just process up to 50 people an hour at its border. That’s a joke,” said police spokesman David Furtner.

“Plus this doesn’t meet German standards: the government said that all refugees would be welcome. There seems to be a problem of interpretation by German national police who counteract the directive with restrictions (in migrant numbers),” he added.

Hundreds of refugees have been forced to wait for hours outside in the cold without knowing when they will be able to continue onto Germany.

The Austrian Red Cross said it treated 6,500 refugees on Monday night and was able to house 3,000 in emergency shelters. “The others continued onto Germany, and crossed the border,” Red Cross spokesman Christoph Patzalt said.

A report in the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung described the situation at the Achleiten border crossing in Austria as chaotic and said that whilst police are happy to escort refugees to the German border they are not providing them with “tents, blankets, or tea”.

Austrian authorities have said they expect around 7,000 refugees to cross the border into Austria from Slovenia on Tuesday.

Austrian minister calls for ‘fortress Europe’

Austria’s Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner has called for “a fortress Europe” to protect the EU’s external borders as thousands of refugees continue to enter Austria from Slovenia.

She made the comments after a visit to Spielfeld in Styria, where the situation has become chaotic after the arrival of thousands of refugees and migrants. On Thursday police were forced to remove barricades at a refugee camp in Spielfeld in an effort to relieve pressure, allowing hundreds of people to spill into the surrounding area.

Slovenia says over 12,600 migrants and refugees have entered its territory over the past 24 hours. They want to travel onwards to Austria and Germany.

Locals in Spielfeld, a community of just 1,000 people, have complained that they will not be able to cope with the expected 60,000 refugees who will arrive over the course of the next few days.

On Thursday evening, around 2,000 refugees were waiting in a transit area at the border crossing. Police chief Josef Klamminger said that shuttle buses will be in continual use, to take the refugees to a registration centre and provide them with emergency supplies and first aid.

He told ORF television that the situation in Spielfeld is more extreme than on the Hungarian border crossing a few weeks ago, as “Germany’s restrictions are now affecting Austria and the entire Balkan route, and we are left in a kind of sandwich position.”

Around 900 police officers and soldiers are on duty to try and keep the situation under control.


Tech wizards create apps to help refugees!

A group of Vienna-based software developers have created four new apps for smartphones, designed to make life easier for refugees fleeing from war and poverty – and to put them directly in touch with aid workers.

The software was programmed last weekend, as part of a ‘Refugee Hack Vienna’ event which saw 25 volunteers get together to see what they could create. “It’s amazing what people who have never met each other before can make in a short space of time,” one of the organisers, Helene Pattermann said.

Smartphones have been an important lifeline for refugees in their long journey to other countries.

“This gives us completely new possibilities to help and to connect with people,” Pattermann said. “We also wanted to help create an atmosphere of welcome – so that people can see that others are willing to help,” she added.

The Hack event, which was run as a friendly competition, saw an app called Where 2 Help selected as the winner. It’s designed to help coordinate people who wish to volunteer, as there are often too many or too few helpers at a particular location. “Lots of people said they have felt frustrated about this,” Pattermann said. Volunteers can now use the app to check what location needs their help the most.

Another app, called Refugees Connect, functions “like a walkie-talkie” and puts refugees directly in touch with aid workers. They can ask questions such as “Where can I get a warm jacket?”, “Who wants to go for a coffee?” or “What is the situation at the border?”

The Open Knowledge app is designed to make facts and figures about the refugee crisis widely available, and another app called Bridges enables users to chat in different languages.

“Now we have to see if refugees will actually use our apps,” Pattermann said.


Source: The local

Refugee crisis fears ‘helped Freedom Party’

The state elections in Upper Austria resulted in huge gains for the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) and major losses for the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP). Regional governor Josef Pühringer has said he will be holding talks with all parties to discuss the options before forming a new coalition.

The ÖVP and the Greens have lost their majority, and an ÖVP/FPÖ or ÖVP/SPÖ coalition look most likely.

The Freedom Party is now the second largest party in Upper Austria and Pühringer (ÖVP) told Ö1 radio that he believed its success was solely down to the refugee crisis, and nothing to do with regional politics. “We can only take care of accommodation and on the spot care for refugees – but everything else is in the hands of international politics,” he said.

The FPÖ campaigned aggressively on the issue of immigration, and their success in Upper Austria may bode well for them in the Vienna elections which take place on October 11th.

The SPÖ gained only 18.4 percent of the vote in the weekend’s elections, a result which analysts are saying is “catastrophic” for the party.

Source:  Sept 2015


Migrants leave Salzburg on foot as trains stop.

Hundreds of refugees who had massed at the main train station in the city of Salzburg left on foot on Wednesday in the hope of reaching Germany, a city spokesman said. One day after Salzburg warned that the station might have to close due to the large numbers of migrants, government spokesman Johannes Greifeneder said the situation had “relaxed”.

“The situation was much more tense this morning. We informed people using flyers written in Arabic that there would be no train service to Germany,” he told AFP.

“We have offered shelter to people but they have refused,” he said. “My guess is that they will try to cross the border on foot.”

The situation escalated this week after Berlin reintroduced border controls at the weekend, temporarily suspending all trains between Austria and Germany.

Although an intermittent service has resumed, it has slowed the passage of thousands from Austria into Germany, causing major road and rail disruption.

Source:   17/09/15

Seven bizarre health tips Austrians swear by

Anyone who has lived in Austria will know that Austrians have some weird and wonderful ‘natural’ remedies for common health complaints, but do they help, or are they just a bunch of old wives’ tales?

Health and wellness are big in Austria. Not only is spa culture popular here but many Austrians also tend to opt for herbal or traditional remedies when they come down with a cold, cough or stomach ache.

There’s a common perception that these are healthier and safer than over-the-counter medicines. Many remedies have been passed down through generations and you’ll find that some of the “cures” in this list are usually found in the kitchen and not in the medicine cabinet. This reflects the Austrian idea that good health begins with the food you eat. And maybe there’s some truth to this – the average life expectancy in Austria is 81, compared with an EU average of 79.

A century ago many of Austria’s Alpine communities lived isolated from the rest of the world, and found novel ways to survive, existing on what they could find on their doorstep, including traditional natural medicine. Some of these remedies have been tried and tested and others are a bit more dubious – but they might be worth a try next time you need a quick fix. Gargle with Schnaps for a sore throat Schnaps is a strong alcoholic drink which in Austria is often flavoured with fruit. It’s very warming and good as a winter tipple. As alcohol tends to have numbing and antiseptic qualities there may be some truth to the belief that it can help alleviate the symptoms of a sore throat. A friend’s sprightly octogenarian Oma (grandma) swears by a morning shot of Schnaps every day as a general way to maintain good health. Younger Austrians tend to prefer fruit and vegetables and vitamin C and Zinc lozenges. Fermented cabbage juice for a healthy tum Sauerkraut juice is widely available in health food stores and supermarkets in Austria. It’s an acquired taste but cabbages have been shown to create compounds in the digestive tract that are anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory. Raw cabbage juice is believed to help stomach ulcers and acid reflux, and also help strengthen the immune system. Fermented cabbage juice contains beneficial bacteria, enzymes and vitamins and minerals. It’s recommended that you drink it in small quantities i.e. one small glass a day – and consult a doctor about drinking it if you have a thyroid condition. Hug a tree if you have a headache

We’re not sure if the weight of science is behind this one – and it sounds like something an old hippy would recommend, but there is some evidence that just being around trees can boost one’s sense of well-being. A recent book called Blinded by Science by UK author Matthew Silverstone claimed that trees have beneficial effects on mental illnesses, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), concentration levels, depression, and can also help alleviate headaches.

Take a hay bath for achy joints

Popular in Alpine regions, the Heubad treatment involves being tightly wrapped in herb-enriched hay that has been soaked in water heated to at least 40C. You’re meant to take the ‘bath’ for about 20 minutes, at which point sweat will start to stream from your pores. It’s said to ease rheumatism and general aches and pains, boost the immune system, improve circulation, and help with weight loss. Warning: The soggy hay can be a bit itchy. Topfen: A cure for everything Topfen – a fresh dairy product known as Quark in Germany – is a popular ingredient in Austrian cakes and puddings. But it’s also a popular remedy for all kinds of elements. Our sources tell us that doctors recommend smearing it on your head if you suffer from a dry, itchy scalp (!). If you have a fever a traditional remedy is to put Topfen on your feet and wrap them in towels (the so-called Topfenpatscherl treatment). It’s also been recommended as a topical cream for sore breasts. Worth keeping some in the fridge perhaps? Yogurt to soothe a sore sunburn Another common remedy involving a dairy product. Apparently smearing yogurt on a sunburn not only helps to cool and moisturize the skin – it also helps reestablish the pH balance and promotes faster healing. Use plain, unsweetened, full-fat yogurt if you can, let it sit on your skin until it warms up and then rinse off with tepid water. Some people recommend mixing a paste made of equal proportions of barley, turmeric and yogurt. It all sounds a bit messy – we prefer good old Aloe Vera. Wormwood tea for stomach ache Medicinal, herbal teas are very popular in Austria. If you have a cold you’re sure to be prescribed thyme tea but a more old fashioned tea is made from the bitter-tasting wormwood herb (which is also used to make Absinthe) and is meant to be good for treating digestive problems, including flatulence, bloating, heartburn and indigestion. It was also used for medicinal purposes in Ancient Egypt and Rome. However, it’s not recommended that you drink it every day, and you should avoid it if pregnant. Too much of it can prevent you from sleeping – or might make you have strange dreams

Source:   – 28/8/15

Austrian lakes reach ‘bathtub’ temperatures

Anyone planning to take a refreshing dip in one of Austria’s lakes after the scorching heat of the past few days is going to be disappointed – with the water in most lakes now as warm as a bathtub.

The hot, tropical nights of the past week have meant water temperatures have continued to rise. The warmest water is currently in Carinthia’s lakes, where Klopeiner See and Turnersee are around 29C. Experts say smaller lakes in Carinthia could soon hit 30C if the heat continues.

In Vienna, a plunge in the Alte Donau river won’t leave you gasping for breath or complaining of goose bumps, with the water temperature now 28C. The Neusiedler See in Burgenland is also on the warm side, with 27C.

The Lunzersee lake in Upper Austria promises to be more refreshing with 25C. And for those desperately seeking a place to cool down Hallstätter See in Upper Austria could be the right place, with just 23C.

Salzburg’s lakes are similarly warm – with temperatures between 23 and 26C. The only exception is the Flachauwinkel bathing lake, which is a chilly 18C. But experts have warned people not to jump into cold water without cooling down from the heat first, as the shock to the circulatory system could have adverse health effects.

In Styria, the coolest lake is the Erlaufsee with 23C. Other lakes in the province are between 24 and 28C. Even Bodensee (Lake Constance) in Vorarlberg is currently 25C. Tyrol’s lakes are generally a little cooler, between 21 and 26C, with the exception of Schwarzsee which is now 27C.

The fish aren’t suffering from the warmer water temperatures as they swim deeper, to the cooler regions of the lake. So far, an increased growth of algae in the water is not noticeable.

Conditions on Friday and Saturday will continue to be hot and humid, with temperatures reaching 33C and up to 35C in the east, with some rain and thunderstorms forecast. Sunday should see cooler temperatures, of around 26C.

Source:   27 July 2015

Vienna flak tower aquarium to get a facelift

Vienna’s aquarium, the Haus des Meeres, which is housed in a former Nazi anti-aircraft tower will be getting a facelift in time for next summer.
The plans include a new tank and viewing tunnel as well as two external panoramic lifts which will take visitors up to the roof of the concrete tower.

The panoramic view from the rooftop over Vienna is stunning, but can currently only be seen by people who have paid to enter the aquarium – or choose to climb the 192 steps on the outside of the tower.

“Currently we are doing preparatory work for a new aquarium on the ground floor. It will hold more than half a million litres of seawater. A tunnel will be built through the tank, which will offer new perspectives of the sea life,” aquarium director Hans Koppen said.

Construction is scheduled to start in the autumn and should be finished in time for summer 2016.

The new panoramic lifts will ease pressure on the single internal lift and take visitors directly to the roof cafe, without them having to buy a ticket for the aquarium.

Koppen said there are also plans for a new balcony on the 10th floor, which will be covered and offer fantastic views of the city, whatever the weather.

The revamp will cost around €6 million Source:   July 2015


Austria stops processing asylum requests in EU quota row

Asylum applications will be registered but processing them has been suspended to ‘stop the Austria asylum express’, said its interior minister
Austria has stopped processing asylum requests in a bid to pressure other European Union member states to do more to help absorb refugees entering the continent, the country’s interior minister said.
Application processing was suspended on Friday in a move designed to make the country less attractive to refugees in comparison with other EU countries and to “stop the Austria asylum express”, said Johanna Mikl-Leitner.
The announcement comes ahead of a planned meeting of interior ministers from EU member states on Tuesday.
Mikl-Leitner has renewed her demand for other countries to adopt fixed quotas for taking in asylum seekers, telling Die Presse newspaper: “So far there have been only isolated declarations of intent that do not bring us further.”
New applications will still be registered but they will temporarily not be processed, and officials are instead expected to focus on deportations and repatriations.
The interior minister said Austria has become „target country number 1” because it is among the fastest EU member states in handling asylum requests, taking decisions on applications within an average of four months. In comparison, nearly half of requests in the EU took at least six months, with Sweden taking ten months and France two years, said Mikl-Leitner. The new rule on processing applications was designed to redress this imbalance, she said, adding: “This is a warning signal to the others to finally show solidarity and agree to a fair EU quota.” Mikl-Leitner defended her decision in the face of mounting criticism from Austrian opposition parties and refugee groups, saying she had not ordered officials to stop processing applications but rather had told them to prioritise “Dublin cases”. The Dublin Regulation states that asylum seekers should lodge their asylum applications in the member state through which they first entered the EU, and allows applicants to be returned to those countries. But the current high volume of applications Austrian is dealing with would in practice mean that new applications are put on hold. Asylum requests for Austria rose nearly 160 percent in the first four months of 2015 to 14,225, according to government figures. Last month the European Commission proposed a scheme to redistribute 40,000 Syrian and Eritrean asylum-seekers throughout the EU to ease pressure on Italy and Greece, which is struggling to cope with the thousands of immigrants crossing the Mediterranean. Britain, which has an exemption in EU matters on immigration, has said it will not participate in the scheme.
Source:   13 June 2015


Austria scores highly in new well-being index

Austrians are generally pretty happy with life, especially when it comes to where they live and their friends and family. The Alpine country placed fourth in a new index which looks at quality of life and well-being in European Union countries. The EU life satisfaction average is 7.1, according to figures from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat looked at different aspects of well-being and used country-specific data to evaluate them on a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being completely satisfied).

Overall, Austria scored 7.8, behind Denmark, Finland and Sweden, who all scored 8. The least happy Europeans are Bulgarians, with a score of just 4.8. Austrians gain the most satisfaction from their “personal relationships” – with a high score of 8.5 which is only bettered by Ireland (8.6). They also gain a sense of well-being from their “living environment”, with the highest EU-wide score of 8.4. “Green and recreational areas” scored a well-being value of 8.3, as did “accommodation”. Austria’s lowest scores were for “time use” (7.3) and “financial situation” (7) – a trend echoed across the EU with Bulgaria again coming bottom for financial happiness. The annual median net income for Austrians was calculated as €23,221. The figures were revealed on Monday as part of a closer look at data recorded in 2013 and initially released in March to mark 2015’s World Happiness Day. Source:   – June 2015


GBP/EUR back over €1.41 GBP/EUR exchange rates broke back through €1.41 yesterday as Greece continues to dominate the headlines.

This makes it a good time to be buying property in Austria if you have investment from outside the euro zone.

26 May 2015


Police narrowly miss catching intruders into Austrian parliament

VIENNA, May 18  — Police narrowly missed catching intruders who broke into the Palais Epstein parliamentary building in Vienna on Sunday night, parliament Secretary-General Harald Dossi said Monday. Early investigation indicated that three to four hooded persons entered the mansion via the roof which was accessed from a neighboring building, he told a press conference. At about 2 a.m., an alarm was triggered, upon which the task force personnel arrived “in a short time” but were too late to catch the intruders, Dossi said. The suspects were said to have caused considerable damage inside the building. They damaged doors, computers, broke open cabinets and drawers and ransacked their contents. The offices damaged included those belonging to the Social Democrats, the People’s Party, as well as those of the parliamentary administration, Dossi noted. Whether anything has been stolen would be known by Tuesday, he said. Dossi said investigators would also look into whether security measures were adequate in light of the incident. Source:   19 May 2105


Smokers to be banned from Austria’s cafes

After years of heated public debate, Austria’s government decided on Friday that it will ban smoking in cafes and restaurants in 2018, having passed a law six years ago that forced eateries to seal off non-smoking areas.

The Chamber of Commerce said it was looking at taking legal steps against the ban in a country famed for its cafe culture and where smoking is above European averages. France, Britain, Italy and some German provinces have introduced similar bans. Cafe owners who go completely smoke-free by July 2016 will get a special one-off bonus to offset costs at least partially. “We are strengthening the protection of non-smokers in Austria, but also take into account the interests of businesses which have already invested in the spatial separation of smokers and non-smokers,” APA news agency quoted Conservative Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner as saying. But not everyone was convinced. “Incredible. What are we going to do? You know that Austrians like to smoke when they drink coffee,” said Elzin Nicevic, manager of a cafe on Vienna’s Ring boulevard. The head of Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, whose party is neck and neck in opinion polls with the two centrist coalition parties, said he would scrap the law should his party win parliamentary elections in 2018. “We don’t need enforced joys such as this failure of a law,” the heavy smoker said of the bill, which parliament is expected to pass within months. Reuters – 10 April 2015


Arrivals/Overnight Stays in Austria for the year 2014

A slight decline in the number of overnight stays in Austria, which is being attributed to people visiting for a shorter period, as the number of guests increased!. In calendar year 2014 (final results), a total of 131.9 million overnight stays was reported; this means a decline of 728.000 overnight stays (-0.5%) compared to 2013 (132.6 million). The decline was observed both in the number of overnight stays by guests from abroad (96.2 million; -0.7%) and in the number of domestic overnight stays (35.7 million -0.2%). There was an increase by 1.9% (37.6 million) in the number of guests (= arrivals). Arrivals both among Austrian residents and among guests from abroad rose by 1.9% to 12.3 million resp. 25.3 million. The average length of stay declined to 3.5 days compared with the previous year (3.6 days). April 2015


Quality of Living Rankings: Vienna Tops the List Again

Published: March 2015 (FriedlNews)

Vienna remains at the top of the 2015 Quality of Living Rankings, boasting the best quality of living for expatriates. In the top 5 there are two other European cities, Zurich (place 2) and Munich (place 4). Also Auckland (3rd) and Vancouver (5th) are among the top five cities.

Vienna: City with Highest Quality in Life / Picture: © Mercer LLCVienna has the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2015 Quality of Living rankings.Overall, European cities dominate the top of the ranking along with major cities in Australia and New Zealand. Zurich, Auckland, and Munich are in second, third, and fourth places respectively. In fifth place, Vancouver is the highest-ranking city in North America and the region’s only city in the top 10. Singapore (26) is the highest-ranking Asian city, whereas Dubai (74) ranks first across the Middle East and Africa. Montevideo in Uruguay (78) takes the top spot for South America. Mercer conducts its Quality of Living survey annually to help multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Source:

Global Peace Index: Austria is Third Most Peaceful Country

March 2015 (FriedlNews)

The latest Global Peace Index analyses the state of peace around the world. It identifies the most and least peaceful countries, trends in violence and conflict, and calculates the economic impact of violence. The top three most peaceful countries are Iceland, Denmark and Austria. Small and stable democracies make up the top ten most peaceful countries. New Zealand, Canada and Japan are the only non-European countries in the top ten.

The 2014 Global Peace Index shows a continuation of the seven year trend for declining levels of peace globally.

  • Since 2008 51 countries have improved while 111 countries have deteriorated in peace
  • The world has become 4% less peaceful since 2008
  • Europe remains the most peaceful region, with 14 of the top 20 most peaceful countries
  • Syria has replaced Afghanistan at the bottom of the index, with its Global Peace Index score falling 84% since 2008
  • Georgia showed the largest improvement in peace levels
  • The total economic impact of containing violence is estimated to be US$9.46 trillion in 2012

The three least peaceful countries are South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria. Levels of peace in South Sudan deteriorated the most since 2013, falling 16 places from last year. Trends According to the Global Peace Index, the world global average peace score deteriorated slightly since last year, mainly due to global increases in terrorist activity, the number of conflicts fought and the number of refugees and displaced people. Economic Impact The economic impact of containing and dealing with the consequences of global violence last year was estimated to be US$9.8 trillion. This is equivalent to 11.3% of global GDP – twice the combined GDP of African countries. Risk This years’ Global Peace Index includes a new statistical modelling risk tool which identifies countries at risk of descending into violence and unrest in the next two years. The new methodology analyses a data set stretching back to 1996, and compares countries with the performance of states with similar institutional characteristics. The ten countries most likely to deteriorate in peace in the next two years are Zambia, Haiti, Argentina, Chad, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Burundi, Georgia, Liberia and Qatar. Source:


First Images Of Eurovision Stage


It is now possible to see the first images of the design for the Eurovision Song Contest stage unveiled in the Austrian capital Vienna which is the home of last year’s winner Conchita Wurst. The design of the stage is in the form of an eye and will be created from 1,288 individual pillars. These pillars representing the nations will be lit with LEDs allowing for a variety of lighting effects and designs alongside the floor of the stage itself. An amazing 22-metre-wide and 8.5-metre-tall LED display forms the back of the stage allowing the director, set designers and lighting teams to create a show to remember. Director of television company ORF, who are behind the show’s organisation, Kathrin Zechner, explained: “The eye is a symbol for bridge building – to promote respect amongst different cultures, countries and peoples. The realisation of this artistic vision has been achieved by the best in their professions – both nationally and internationally.” The show designer Florian Wieder, for example, has worked on international television productions including 16 MTV Award shows, America’s and Britain’s Got Talent, and a song contest in the German city of Dusseldorf. Besides this, he has had huge national success with programmes on ORF such as Starmaina, Dancing Stars and Helden von Morgen. His stage designs have also been used by huge stars such as Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and U2. The lighting design is under the control of Al Gurdon who has worked on the half time show for the Super Bowl, Victoria’s Secret shows, American Idol and previous Eurovision Song Contests in the Russian capital Moscow and Norwegian capital Oslo. Gurdon said: “The thing I like the most about Eurovision is that you have to be able to produce lots of different looks – you need to put a lot of energy into it but it’s really liberating. The audience are expecting something state of the art and the opportunity to produce something like that is fantastic.” Gurdon even received an Emmy for his work with Madonna for the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. The director of the Eurovision show in Vienna is Kurt Pongratz who is responsible for the conception and visual realisation of the event. Pongratz said: “For any director, it is a huge challenge to be working on the world’s biggest TV entertainment event. However, I’m working with Florian Wieder and Al Gurdon who are the absolute best at what they do and I’m thrilled to have them on side.” Pongratz was responsible for the staging and storyboard for Conchita Wurst’s winning performance in the Danish capital Copenhagen last year. He said: “Really our collective goal is to bring a spectacular and enchanting show to 200 million viewers worldwide in Vienna – the capital of music.”

Austrian Times   –


Sterling, will it hit 1.40 euro?

28.1.15 For UK buyers or investors in Austria, the news is all good…the Pound has broken through the 1.30 euro mark, making it much cheaper to buy property in Austria. This means that over the last 3 months UK buyers have gained 10% making their purchase that much cheaper…and in fact the increase in Sterling has effectively given UK buyers their purchase costs. So, will it last..well that depends on the ECB, and any annoucements they make for the euro and quantitive easing, which would lower the value of the Euro. But now is one of the best times to buy.


New Super Rail Station for Vienna

There was a festival atmosphere as Bundespresident Heinz Fischer opened Vienna’s new Hauptbahnhof Friday morning. He was accompanied by Frau Fischer, Vize Kanzler Mitterlehner, Minister Alois Stöger and Vienna Bürgermeister Michael Haüpl. The President of Parliament, Doris Bures was also present. Earlier, ÖBB Boss Christian Kern emphasised that the project had been completed on time – then he pointed to the huge arrivals board and joked that all of the trains were likewise on time ! The new railway station took 7 years to complete at a cost of just over 1 billion Euros. 20,000 workers were employed on the site. There are offices, apartments, as well as a shoping mall with 90 Top Shops. ÖBB expects more than 145.000 passengers to use the station every day. By Ken Cameron Austrian Times

An Austrian Park turns into a Lake Every Year !

Spectacular images that show how a park becomes a lake each spring complete with underwater trees have been captured by two divers. The snaps were taken at the Gruener See, or Green Lake as it is called in English, located in the southern Austrian province of Styria. During the winter months the lake, located near the town of Tragoss at the foot of the snow-capped Hochschwab mountains, is only around a metre deep and the surrounding area is part of the country park. It is a favourite location for hikers and campers, but all of it vanishes underwater in the spring when the winter snow starts to melt, sending waters flooding down from the nearby mountain range. During the summer, the lake reaches its maximum depth of around 12 metres and trees have adapted to being completely underwater for upwards of a month every year at a time. And as these spectacular images show it creates an eerie landscape, in which the crystal clear waters flooding down from the melting ice and snow still allow the light to filter onto the grass and shrubs below. The photographs are part of the project to highlight Austria’s investment in making sure it’s rivers, streams and lakes remain crystal clear and unpolluted. They are being shown at a new Under Water World exhibition at the Biology Centre in the southern city of Linz to highlight the country’s aquatic beauty spots. Two of Austria’s leading underwater photographers, Gerald Kapfer and Harald Hois, also captured some of the plants and animals beneath the underwater lake which can now be seen at the photography exhibition. Exhibition curator Stephan Weigl said: “Many people are surprised that images like these have been captured in Austria rather than in somewhere more exotic like the Maldives but we really do have a beautiful aquatic landscape that is perhaps sometimes overlooked against the backdrop of the country’s other natural wonders.”

Austrian economy falls, with the European trend

By Matej Klenovský. Translation by Tomáš Buš Austria is in line with the current economic trend in Europe, according to several economic indicators made public in Austria on Friday. Analysis of the results of the indicators show that at the moment, there is a moderate decrease, almost stagnation, in the price levels. Meanwhile, industrial production is slowing down at a significant rate, as it is in many other European countries. The results of the Austrian Industrial Production indicator show that production has decreased in March by 1.8% in comparison with February, the second month in a row where it has dropped. The greatest decrease was recorded in capital goods (-4.5%) and durable goods (-4.7%) whilst the situation in the construction sector has also worsened for the second month in a row. The construction sector, being probably the most cyclical out of all sectors, represents an important part of an economy and its development is exceptionally dependant on the current economic state of a country. As a result, it is often a useful predicting indicator for forecasting a country’s economic development. Meanwhile, the Austrian Central Statistical Office also discussed a change in the Production Price Index this Friday, which measures the average change over time in the selling prices of the output from domestic producers. The indicator decreased by 1.2% in comparison with April 2013, although there was no change in comparison with March 2014. A decrease in the energy prices (-3.8%) and intermediate goods (-1.3%) is responsible for these lower prices. On the other hand, the prices of investment goods rose year-on-year by 0.6%; the increase in the price of machinery (+1.5%) and motor vehicles (+1.1%) is responsible for this rise. The greatest decrease within a month was recorded in the price of fats and oils from plants and animals, which sank by 16.2% in April. This significant drop contributed to the fact that the price of consumer goods increased only by 0.2%. Finally, one of the most popular indicators is Bank Austria Manufacturing PMI, which is based on the survey of over 300 industrial companies. The index has for the ninth month in a row now shown expansion (over 50 points). However, the tempo of the growth is consistently decreasing as of the beginning of 2014, when the level of the index was recorded to be over 54 points. The last records show a decrease in the indicator from 51.4 points in April to 50.9 points in May, which has also been the monthly minimum for the past nine months. According to most of the surveyed subjects, the reason behind the lower total results lies in the slowing down of the sub-index New Orders, which is responsible for the lower demand among customers as well as greater competition. A lower interest from the domestic market also plays a significant role in the decrease of the total demand. Meanwhile, the growing demand from abroad has led to a mild rise in exports.

 Flights launched between Vienna and Manchester.

Thousands of holidaymakers from northern England can now waltz away from Manchester on a direct flight to Vienna – the first flight from the country that takes off outside London. The first flight between the northern city and the Austrian capital took off last week on 2 May, just in time for the British May bank holiday. Already 8,000 Brits have bought tickets with airline company operating the route “Vienna is one of the largest un-served European resorts and it appeals to lots of customers, businesses and travel. It’s a great city and I know what is has to offer,” said David Neill, the head of planning. People are used to regular city breaks such as Rome or Paris, and we wanted to offer somewhere different. Jet2 are hoping that Vienna’s cultural, musical, and cuisine offerings will attract visitors from Manchester and the surrounding regions who want to discover an alternative European city break. Prices begin at 43 GBP (52 EUR) per person, including taxes, and there will be three flights a week on Mondays, Wednesday, and Friday.

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