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19.11.2021 – Parliament Agrees on Budget for 2022

The parliament debated for some days © APA/HANS PUNZ

The parliament has agreed on the national budget for 2022, after three days of debates. The budget was passed with the votes from the governing conservative People’s Party (VP) and the Greens.

The goal was a total state deficit of 2.3 percent of the economic output, which would be a considerable reduction – and a slightly reduced debt quota of 79.1 percent.

However, these goals are up in the air thanks to the fourth coronavirus lockdown, which begins Monday.

One of the biggest budget winners was climate protection. Science, education, and domestic policy were also well funded. The government expected considerably lower expenses in the job market sector because of the falling unemployment figures, and also lower costs for short-time work (Kurzarbeit). This, however, also depended on the corona situation.

The prime minister, who is also due to meet Linhart in Tirana on Friday, compared the situation to the absurdist play “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett.

Reported in cooperation with the Austrian Press Agency / APA.


19.11.2021 – Austrians Consider Poverty Hard to Shake, Says OECD Study

The study by the OECD suggested pessimism © dpa-Zentralbild/Britta Pedersen

The income gap in OECD countries continues to widen, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in a current study. In all the 38 member states, most people were concerned about economic and social inequality, as well as a lack of social mobility in their own countries.

Austrians and Germans were especially pessimistic, according to the study. In these two countries, the study “Does Inequality Matter?” showed many people thought it was “especially difficult to break out of the poverty in one’s own family”. Switzerland, by comparison, showed more optimism.

All OECD member states said that the income inequality gap in their country was too large.

The income gap in the past three decades had in fact increased, said the international organization. Social mobility was stagnating in many OECD countries. At the end of the 1980s and at the start of the 1990s, those polled estimated that top earners received around five times as much on average as a low earner. According to current OECD figures, people today believe that the income of top earners was eight times as high on average.

Reported in cooperation with the Austrian Press Agency / APA.


19.11.2021 – Foreign Minister Linhart in Albania

Linhart is visiting the west Balkan countries © BMEIA/MICHAEL GRUBER

Foreign Minister Michael Linhart (conservative People’s Party, VP) continued his trip through the Western Balkan countries on Friday, coming from North Macedonia to his second and final destination, Albania.

He is due to meet with his counterpart Olta Xhacka in Tirana. Like North Macedonia, Albania is waiting for the start of its accession talks with the EU. Due to a veto that Bulgaria issued against starting talks with North Macedonia, Albania was “caught alongside” and stuck in a waiting loop for over a year.

Albania’s head of government, Edi Rama, has long warned of negative consequences due to delays and the EU not fulfilling its obligations in the course of his country’s accession attempts. There was a “strong group of members” in the EU, who “support us and the beginning of the accession talks”, said Rama to the newspaper Kleine Zeitung in May. “On the other side, there are some countries who are skeptical, irrespective of the fact that the decision for the beginning of the talks was met by all the countries together”.

Reported in cooperation with the Austrian Press Agency / APA.

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