Weekly Briefing: Belarus Faces Harsh Criticism

More+ ♦ Published: June 4, 2021; 11:45 ♦ (Vindobona)

After the forced landing of a passenger plan and the arrest of an anti-government blogger, the international community, among them a number of Austrian politicians, demand strong sanctions for the authoritarian regime. Find out more about this week's developments.

Take five minutes to catch up on this week’s essential news! / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Filip Nohe [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.de)], modified and edited

Criticism for Belarus

The Estonian and Austrian Federal Presidents have named the forced landing of a passenger plane in Belarus "state kidnapping" and demand the release of the arrested.

Shortly after the event, Russia did not approve an AUA flight to Moscow due to a change of course avoiding Belarusian air space. In the meantime, this matter has been resolved.

Austria's Foreign Minister Schallenberg and his European counterparts as well as Austria's Chancellor Kurz in talks with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya have demanded strong sanctions against the Belarusian regime led by President Lukashenko.

Covid-19 Vaccine for 12- to 15-Year-Olds

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved the Covid-19 vaccine from BionTech/Pfizer for 12- to 15-year-olds. This, together with an increase of the willingness among the Austrian population to have themselves vaccinated, causes a slight delay in the Austrian vaccination progress, which goes against the promise of Austria's Chancellor Kurz.

Although 2.5 million doses will we available in June, not everyone who wants a vaccine will actually receive one. For the youngest age group eligible, the Austrian government plans vaccinations prior to the start of the new school year in September in order to introduce relaxations of measures in schools.

However, not only the schools face an easing of measures, also the general life in Austria will face less restrictions as of mid of June and July.

Climate Neutrality

China and Austria have extended the agreement for cooperation in research and technology in the field of climate neutrality. This allows both countries to pursue their path to climate neutrality in 2040, for Austria, and 2060, for China.

At the Mission Innovation Ministerial Summit in Chile, Austria's Climate Protection Minister Gewessler and her international counterparts stressed the importance of innovation for achieving the Paris Agreement.

International Rail Connections

The Austrian Railways (ÖBB) will be connecting Vienna and Bratislava in 45 minutes by 2025. Construction works have already started and will allow fast travel between the two European capitals.

The night train offer by the ÖBB has been reinstalled after a lengthy pause caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. While connections to Paris and Strasbourg are in planning, a new daily connection to Amsterdam has already been implemented.

What Else Happened This Week?

The Austrian multinational company OMV has a new CEO. Alfred Stern will follow Rainer Seele, who decided not to extend his contract which ends August 31.

We have spotlighted the economic relationship between Taiwan and Austria. Take a look at the recent developments!

Austrian Foreign Minister Schallenberg has welcomed Liechtenstein's and Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister, Dominique Hasler and Jeyhun Bayramov, in Vienna to discuss bilateral relations and the tension in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, respectively.

The Austrian Parliament has introduced a conference website for the Fifth IPU World Conference of Speakers of Parliament co-hosted by the City of Vienna.

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