The Latest News from Austria & Vienna: GDP in Austria Above Pre-crisis Level

August 31 – September 6

Here we go with our weekly wrap-up.

Corona-Ampel launched

September 6

  • A new traffic light warning system for the coronavirus was presented and launched today by the Austrian government.
    • The system shows every district and region in Austria with one of four colors: green (low risk), orange (medium risk), orange (high risk), red (very high risk).
    • A 16-headed advisory board will determine the regions’ colors every Thursday. Regional authorities and politicians are then called on to take appropriate measures.

No border closures

September 3

  • The parliamentary presidents of Austria, Czechia and Slovakia vowed to avoid border closures in their fight against the coronavirus.
    • At a meeting in Grafenegg, 50 km outside of Vienna, all three representatives criticized Hungary’s unilateral move of closing its borders on September 1.
    • Instead, the three want to deepen cooperation and coordination in their fight against the pandemic.

Refugee children

September 2

Refugee children in the camp of Moria, on the Greek city of Lesbos (c) Flickr / Fotomovimiento
  • Vienna City Council passed a resolution that said the city is willing to take in 100 refugee children from the overcrowded Greek refugee camp of Moria.
    • The motion was supported by the SPÖ, Greens and the NEOS and opposed by the ÖVP and the FPÖ.
    • Asylum law is federal competency, hence city council called on the Austrian government to participate on its behalf in an EU-wide refugee children resettlement scheme – the chances of success, however, seem to be slim at the moment.

Schools reopen

September 2

(C) Unsplash/Taylor Wilcox
  • Schools in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland will open their doors again next Monday, on September 7; all other federal states will follow on September 14.
    • Education Minister Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP) presented a 35-page plan for reopening schools, with measures ranging from airing classrooms to holding outside classes.
    • Schools will be coordinated with the Health Ministry’s Corona-Ampel warning system.

Austrian Citizenship for Descendants of Nazi Victims

September 1

  • A new law that entered into force on September 1 allows the descendants of victims of the Nazi regime to reclaim their Austrian citizenship.
    • Passed by parliament in the interim period of the Übergangsregierung (interim government) of Brigitte Bierlein one year ago, the measure is seen by many as long overdue.
    • Victims of the Nazi regime have been able to regain their citizenship for several decades already; now the right also extends to their children, grandchildren and so forth.

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