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WHAT CHANGES IN AUSTRIA

Everything that changes in Austria in June 2023

From the end of Covid restrictions to measures against inflation and tax changes, here's everything that changes in Austria in June 2023 that could affect the lives of foreigners in the country.

Everything that changes in Austria in June 2023
Summer is arriving in Austria (Photo by Yannes Kiefer on Unsplash)

End of all Covid restrictions

By the end of June, the Covid Measures Act that has allowed the Austrian government to take several measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic will expire – and the Health Ministry already announced, with it, so will all Covid restrictions drop.

There are not many left since even the mask mandate in the health sector has been dropped. However, Covid-19 is still a notifiable disease with a specific protocol for those who test positive. After the expiration of the act, though, people who test positive for the disease won’t have to notify their status to health authorities or follow any restrictions. 

The end of the measures also means that there will be no more free Covid tests – people with symptoms could get a referral for testing from their family doctors. 

According to Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens), even after the end of the reporting obligation, Austria would continue to monitor the course of the pandemic – particularly with the analysis of PCR samples and evaluation of wastewater in specific treatment plants nationwide.

READ MORE: Austria to drop all Covid restrictions by the end of June

Changes in the police admission process

From June, police in Austria will allow recruits to have visible tattoos, as the Ministry of the Interior (BMI) announced earlier this year. “The skin art is part of the cultural life today”, said Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) at the time.

Previously, applicants with tattoos, for example, on their hands, were not admitted to the selection process. However, due to staff shortages, the police are relaxing this rule. 

Each tattoo will continue to be examined individually to avoid violations of the Prohibition Act or offensive tattoos, for example. Still, the police union has found the measure controversial and stated that society deserved a “proper appearance of the police”, according to Austrian media.

 The less strict tattoo rules are among a series of measures from the federal government looking to attract more people to police work, as The Local reported. In the future, recruits will be offered a Klimaticket (Austria’s nationwide public transport ticket) and could get subsidies for a driver’s licence. In the future, there will also be recruitment bonuses and a higher starting salary to make police work more attractive to potential recruiters.

READ MORE: How Austria wants to attract more police officers

Free public transport in Salzburg

The province of Salzburg is once again promoting its “Gasoline-free days”, starting on June 3rd, according to the Salzburger Nachrichten. Every Saturday from June 3rd to July 1st, people in Salzburg can try out public transport free of charge all throughout the province. 

“We want to attract new customers who will use the services of the Salzburg Transport Association on a permanent basis,” says Transport Provincial Councilor Stefan Schnöll (ÖVP). Last year, the focus was primarily on commuters, but for 2023, the government wants the population to use buses and trains free of charge for leisure activities. 

“We want to appeal to people who have not used public transportation before or have rarely used it,” Schnöll explains. The free rides can be used on Gasoline Free Days from the start to the end of operations. They apply to all bus and train lines of the Salzburg Transport Association in the province of Salzburg.

For all Salzburgers who already use an annual pass, there is an additional offer on the Gasoline Free Days, according to the report. Holders of a yearly pass receive free admission to a museum of their choice in the province of Salzburg on Gasoline Free Days – they only need to show their transport ticket at the museum and then receive free admission. The promotion applies to all valid annual passes.

READ ALSO: Is Salzburg a nice place to live?

Centre-left SPÖ to vote on new leadership

Austria’s main opposition party, the centre-left SPÖ, is set to formally elect a new leader on June 3rd, as The Local has been reporting. Incumbent Pamela Rendi-Wagner, who has led the party since late 2018, has resigned after bitterly losing a “membership vote” late in May. 

Members of the Social Party were asked to vote on a new leader. Despite being a favourite, Rendi-Wagner ended in last place among the three competitors in a very tight race. Burgenland governor Hans Peter Doskozil, who first challenged for the position and is known as being more hard-line on migration, took the lead with 33.68 percent of the votes cast by SPÖ members. 

Traiskirchen Mayor Andreas Babler came second with 31.51 percent. Party chairwoman Pamela Rendi-Wagner came in at 31.35 percent. A total of 147,993 people were eligible to vote, and 107,133 votes were cast. Voter turnout was 72.79 percent.

Rendi-Wagner resigned and said she wouldn’t challenge the results. Babler, who had warned he would not back out if results were close, said he was still in the race. The membership vote is seen as a recommendation, but not binding, for the vote by the delegates at the party congress in June.

READ ALSO: Who will be the Social Democratic Party’s chancellor candidate in the Austrian elections?

New measures against inflation

The new measures against inflation presented by the Austrian federal government in May should take place in June, as The Local reported. The primary measure works to incentivise energy companies that are quicker to pass on drops in wholesale prices to households and businesses in Austria.

According to the administration, suppliers should lower prices voluntarily; otherwise, they will face a higher profit tax. In addition, prices will be adjusted more frequently – at least every six months or even monthly for households with smart meters – allowing the drops to reach the final consumers faster.

“If energy suppliers do not immediately begin to reduce prices, then we, as the Republic, will also make them pay accordingly,” Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer said when the plan was announced. His goal, the chancellor said, is for the “most expensive supplier to reduce prices by a third”.

READ MORE: How Austria wants energy firms to lower prices for customers

Lower taxes for motorhome insurance

Previously, many motorhome owners experienced a significant increase in motor-related insurance taxes, with some facing levies of over €2,000 per year. This cost surge deterred potential motorhome owners and impacted vehicles registered after October 1st, 2020. In response to these concerns, the Austrian Camping Club (ÖCC), led by Tomas Mehlmauer, advocated for a regulation change.

An amending law has been enacted, resulting in a reduction of the motor-related insurance tax. This change took effect on July 19th, 2022, and will be implemented from June 1st, 2023, following an amendment to the Motor Vehicle and Insurance Tax Act.

The amendment aligns with the ÖCC’s request to tax motorhomes based on the underlying base vehicle’s characteristics. In most cases, motorhomes are built on class N motor vehicles, which are assessed for tax purposes based on the combustion engine’s power in kilowatts, as explained by Michael Szemes of the ÖCC.

Specifically, starting from June 1st, 2023, the engine power will be the basis for calculating the engine-related insurance tax for most motorhomes in Austria. This change also applies to motorhomes that were previously registered for circulation after September 30th, 2020. Therefore, motorhome owners are advised to review advance payment notices from June 1st, 2023, and consult their respective insurance companies if necessary. 

However, it’s important to note that no refunds will be provided for any higher motor-related insurance taxes paid before June 1st, 2023.

READ ALSO: 10 signs you’ve become more Austrian than the Austrians

Holidays and summer

In June, there is one holiday, Corpus Christi (known as Fronleichnam in Austria), which always falls on a Thursday – this year, Thursday, June 8th. This means you can get a long weekend if you take Friday, the 9th, off. June is also the official start of summer, with the summer solstice on June 21st.

READ ALSO: When are Austria’s school summer holidays in 2023?

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN AUSTRIA

Key Points: Everything that changes about life in Austria in June 2024

From the EU elections to tax deadlines and the start of school holidays, here are the most important changes affecting people in Austria in June 2024.

Key Points: Everything that changes about life in Austria in June 2024

EU elections

The upcoming EU elections are significant for EU citizens in Austria. They are a unique opportunity for them to exercise their democratic rights and have a say in the European Parliament. The election, scheduled for June 9th, will see the election of 20 Austrian Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). 

EU citizens in Austria have a choice: they can elect Austrian Parliament members or vote for the MEPs from their country of citizenship.

Recent polls predict that the centre-right ÖVP should suffer significant losses, the growth of right-wing populists in EU countries can also change the parliament to the right, and far-right FPÖ in  Austria is expected to make huge gains.  

READ ALSO: 2024 EU elections – What you need to know as an Austrian resident

Armed Forces rehearse for emergencies

Austrian media reported that the Austrian Army would launch its largest exercise in a decade, with 6,000 soldiers mobilised in June.

From June 10th to 21st, the Austrian Army will be conducting its largest exercise in a decade. This large-scale exercise, involving 6,000 soldiers, will take place in Lower Austria, Styria, Burgenland, and Carinthia. The primary focus of this exercise is to enhance the armed forces’ operational readiness and consolidate their core military capabilities for planning and leading a tactical deployment of land, air, and special operations forces as part of a domestic protection operation. The training command for this exercise is based in Wiener Neustadt.

According to the Defence Ministry, the main objective of the exercise is to further develop the armed forces’ operational readiness and consolidate the core military capabilities for planning and leading a tactical deployment of land, air, and special operations forces as part of a domestic protection operation.

READ ALSO: How does Austria’s mandatory military service work?

Euro 2024

Austrians are highly anticipating Euro 2024, as their national team has qualified and is set to play its opening Group D game against France on June 17th. The excitement continues as they face Poland three days later, followed by the Netherlands on June 25th.

Tax deadlines at end of June

The tax year in Austria starts on January 1st, unlike in some other countries, such as the UK, where it runs from April 1st.

If you submit your tax return in paper format, the deadline is April 30th of the following year. So, the deadline for your income in 2023 is April 30th 2024. 

But if you submit your return electronically (via FinanzOnline), the deadline is June 30th of the following year, so for the year 2023, the deadline is June 30th 2024.

Note that there can be different deadlines for those filing through a tax advisor. If you submit a tax return without obligation, you can file it retroactively for up to five years. 

READ ALSO: The tax benefits that parents and families receive in Austria

Festivals and events

Some of the best festivals in Austria take place in June. The Vienna Pride Parade – also known as the Rainbow Parade – happens on June 8th, and more than 300,000 are expected to participate. 

The night before, on June 7th, the Schönbrunn Palace Park in Vienna will host a spectacular and free musical programme from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sommernachtskonzert. Also, the Donauinselfest happens from Juen 21st to 23rd.  

READ ALSO: 10 things to do in Austria this June

Holidays and summer

There are no public holidays in June this year – not that we can complain since May had four holidays. However, the school holidays start on June 29th in Burgenland, Lower Austria and Vienna (and July 6th in the other states). 

June is the official start of summer, with the summer solstice and longest day on June 20th.

READ ALSO: 10 exciting events in Vienna this June

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