Austria’s News in English: May 13 – 19

Welcome to the latest edition of MyExpatCommunity’s Austrian News in English feature! Here we’ll provide you with snippets of the most important Austrian news of the last couple of weeks so you can stay up to date.

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1. Big parties predicted to suffer losses at European Elections

european parliament, election, parties, votes

According to the Viennese statistics start-up Poll of Polls, the established parties who have been shaping European politics in the past will suffer massive losses during the European Elections May 23-26. According to the data, the European People’s Party and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats will stay number 1 and 2 in the results, but they will not dispose of a majority in Strasbourg for the first time in history.

To keep up the work of a big coalition in the daily dealings, both parties will need a third party in the boat to get the majorities. Currently, the only two parties in question are the Liberals or the Green Party. In return, both will most likely ask for positions and co-determination in daily politics.

When it comes to the rise of national populistic parties, the data of the survey show that although there will be an increase of votes for these parties, there will also be votes for the green-liberal spectrum in European politics.

Source: Die Presse

2. Lobau Tunnel not finished before 2029

lobau, danube, tunnel, construction
To relieve Vienna of some of its heavy traffic, a highway going around the city has been in construction for a while now, including a very heatedly debated tunnel below the Danube and the Lobau. A specific beneficiary of the 19 Kilometer long project will be the 22nd district, who is one of the fastest growing districts in Austria. District leader Ernst Nevrivy has now stated that it will take at least another ten years though before citizens can drive through the tunnel.

The construction has been delayed multiple times due to concerns over environmental issues, administrative assessments, and court rulings. Currently, different environmental groups are fighting the construction over issues like the noise regulation of the highway. The project however already has the green light concerning nature conservation and water rights. Construction is set to begin in 2020.

Source: Der Standard

3. Metro and cable cars – Major Nagl has ideas for Graz

graz, cable car, metro, tourism, siegfried nagl(c) Holding Graz

Graz’s mayor Sigfried Nagl (ÖVP) is still holding on to his idea of introducing a metro and cable cars system to Styria’s capital – amongst others to give the local tourism an incentive. Ideas include introducing a gondola on the river Mur – which should relax traffic going between the north and the south of the city – as well as a cable car going to the lakes at the city borders. The Mur is planned to become a sports and recreational spot in the heart of the city.

Another dream of Nagl is to introduce a metro system from the west to the east of the city, which should connect the clinical and university districts of the Graz. The intention is to create a federal capital that will catch on to international popularity besides Vienna and Salzburg. Nagl wants ”Graz to be as crazy as Berlin, a place for young and artistic people.” The opposition criticizes that the project is unaffordable and megalomaniac.

Source: Der Standard

4. Telering is vanishing from the Austrian cell phone market

telering, austria, magenta, upc, t-mobile

Over the next few weeks, the logo “Telering” will disappear from customer’s phones and be replaced by “Magenta-T”. The brand itself will remain on the market until 2020, and there will be for now no changes for customers. The step of Magenta-T, who also runs UPC now, was a surprise to many, as the service provider has a big customer base. Having a discount pricing offer was a way of keeping customers from switching to other providers.

In return, the end of Telering was welcomed by the low-cost service providers. Hofer’s provider, Hot, might have good chances of becoming a major player in the market.

Source: Der Standard

5. Life Ball creator Gery Keszler announces the end of the event

life ball, gerry keszler, aids

(c) APA

The famous Life Ball will take place for the last time this June. Organizer Gery Keszler has officially ended the event’s run, naming missing financial means as the reason. Keszler stated that it had gotten harder and harder to win sponsors and donations for the ball. He attributed this partially due to changing basic conditions and circumstances.

The association “Verein Life+” however will stay active in supporting victims of stigma and marginalization. The Life Ball had over the past few years collected roughly 30 Million Euro of donations for national and international AIDS projects. This, so Keszler, would create the paradox situation that the number of allies had been decreasing. The earnings of the 26th Life Ball will be donated to regions around the world, specifically in Africa, in which the problem is still predominant, and lives can be saved. Keszler also thanked the former Viennese mayor Helmut Zilk, who invited the event to be hosted in the Viennese Town Hall.

Source: Der Standard

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