Weekly Briefing: End of Lockdown for Vienna and Lower Austria Stirs Up Hope

More+ ♦ Published: May 6, 2021; 17:02 ♦ Updated: May 6; 17:05 ♦ (Vindobona)

Now Vienna has also officially confirmed that on May 19 the long-awaited opening will take place. The end of the lockdown in Vienna and Lower Austria and nationally reaching 3 million Covid-19 vaccinations are not the only indications that the Austrian economic recovery gets off the starting blocks. 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


Austria is slowly but surely awakening from its Covid-19 hibernation. Mayor Michael Ludwig today officially confirmed that on May 19 also in Vienna restaurants, hotels, culture and sports will be open. The end of the lockdown in Vienna and Lower Austria as well as the planned opening steps for the whole country on May 19 will hopefully end the constant Covid-19 prevention measures in Austria once and for all.

The 3 million mark of Covid-19 vaccinations has also been reached this week, which definitely assists the Austrian government and population in avoiding further restrictions and relieving hospitals, especially intensive care units.

Economic Developments

The rather positive developments with regard to the ongoing pandemic do not only spark hope, but also have a measurable effect on the economy. Unemployment in the month of April has decreased significantly, following the downward trend from March. The end of the various lockdowns throughout the country imply possible further decent developments on the job market.

Additionally, the Austrian government has submitted its plan for the European Reconstruction fund, listing the desired investments for Austria funded by the European Union. According to calculation of the EU, Austria is eligible for an investment volume of more than EUR 3.5 billion. The main focus areas of the investments are climate protection and digitalization.

Bilateral Relations

In a meeting between Portugal's high ranking politicians and Austria's National Council President Sobotka in Lisbon, Portugal, bilateral cooperation was discussed and the need for a quick implementation of the "Green Passport" was once again emphasized.

The Italian Interior Minister visited Austria's Interior Minister Nehammer in Vienna to discuss cooperation in the fight against migration, terrorism and extremism.

The new Slovakian Prime Minister visited Vienna to meet with Chancellor Kurz and President Van der Bellen. Discussions about nuclear energy and bilateral solutions for the "Green Passport" were only some of the topics on the agenda.

OMV Looses CEO, ADA Wins CEO

The Austrian multinational oil and gas company OMV has revealed that the current CEO Rainer Seele will not extend his contract, which will expire in June 2022. Allegations of espionage and inconsistencies during the takeover deal with Borealis are likely to have played a role in the decision.

The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) will be having a new CEO as of summer of 2021. Austria's Foreign Minister Schallenberg announced the appointment of Friedrich Stift, currently serving as Austrian ambassador to the People's Republic of China. He will head the ADA, which has a staff of about 250 and is responsible for implementing bilateral programs and projects for sustainable development with a total volume of EUR 550 million.