Weekly Briefing: Vaccination for Everyone in Austria

More+ ♦ Published: May 20, 2021; 16:05 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austria has ended its drastic measures to contain Covid-19 and re-opened borders as well as restaurants, cultural establishments and alike. Vaccines will soon be available to everyone, even to teenagers. 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

Vaccines and Open Borders

Only recently, Austria's Chancellor Kurz and Health Minister Mückstein have announced that vaccinations will be available for everyone by June. Even children aged 12 and older are likely to get their first vaccination soon. Meanwhile, companies in Vienna can make use of the company vaccination program.

By having more and more people vaccinated, Austria has also eased the entry regulations. Travellers, who want to enter Austria, will need to be vaccinated, tested or have recovered. Slowly but surely, Austria's neighbors are also easing entry regulations. Italy has suspended the mandatory quarantine for Austrians.

Diplomacy: Solidarity and Tensions

Several Vienna embassies marked the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT 2021) by expressing solidarity in a common statement. Prior to that, an international diplomatic delegation commemorated the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Mauthausen concentration camp.

Less unity was shown in the Israel-Gaza conflict. The display of solidarity with Israel on top of the Federal Chancellery over the recent tensions in the Gaza Strip sparked a small diplomatic crisis between Austria and Iran.

EU-UK Relations, the Housing Market and Economic Outlook

Austria's Foreign Minister Schallenberg has travelled to London to discuss EU-UK as well as bilateral relations with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Brexit Minister David Frost.

The EU gives Austria a positive outlook with regard to its economic growth, while Austrians are struggling to own their own home, especially in urban areas.

Mobility of the Future

Vienna's subway U2 will not be operating in the city center due to construction works on the new subway line U5. On the other hand, international travel by train is now possible again. The Austrian Railways (ÖBB) have relaunched their international connection, also the night train connections to Brussels, Zurich, Hamburg, Berlin or Milan.

Moreover, a new rail connection between Berlin, Prague and Vienna will allow for fast train travel. The route from Berlin to Vienna should only take four hours. Also: other climate-friendlier means of transportation gain more and more acceptance. At the THE PEP conference hosted by Vienna, promotion of cycling across Europe was a key point.