Monthly Archives: February 2012

Ice, shovel, hockey sticks…..what else?


If you head down to Vienna’s Old Danube, don’t forget to take a shovel……

When you’ve cleared the ice of the snow, put on your skate’s, and have donned your Vienna Capitals shirt, then the Ice Hockey practice can begin….

or you could just stick with skating but mine out for the dog walkers….

Alternatively, you could just take a stroll……

Sailing with a boat is right out……

but if you’ve remembered your pump….

you can go sailing across the ice, pulled along by the breeze…

However, there is something to be said for good old fashioned skies…

 But it’s not the place for a quiet sleep…..

and some take flight….

But if you are looking for peace and quiet you’ll need to avoid the nearby Danube as its something of a busy, working river….

1 Comment

Filed under Activities for kids, Entertainment, Environment, Vienna Life

Downsizing Parliament and latest Parties opinion poll


The latest poll here  from Karmasin for Profil shows the same decline in support for the far right FPÖ as the last poll I commented upon.  Unlike that poll the conservative ÖVP now share second spot with the FPÖ:

SPÖ       30%        (+1)

ÖVP       24%        (-1)

FPÖ        24%        (-2)

Greens   13%        (-1)

BZÖ        4%          (+/-0)

Last Friday night the ruling Coalition of the (Social Democrats) SPÖ and ÖVP annonced their long awaited austrity package , promising to reduce Austria’s deficit to zero by 2016. In what is more of a symbolic move than significant cost saving, the cut backs also included plans to reduce the cost of parliament by reducing the szie fo the National Council (equivalent to the UK House of Commons) and the Federal Council (the upper house).

It’s interesting to see the effect on seats in the National Council when the above poll figures are applied to both the current parliament (183 seats) and the new proposal of 165 seats. Overall coaltion options would be unchanged (note : SPÖ have a policy of not forming a coalition with the FPÖ).

           Poll      Change ’08 / ’08 Result  /  183 Seats    /   165 Seats    /  Dif:183/165

SPÖ     30%      (+0.7%)        57               57 (+/-0)             52  (-5)             -5

ÖVP     24%      (-2%)            51               47 (-2)                42  (-9)              -5

FPÖ      24%     (+6.5%)        34                47 (+13)            42 (+8)              -5

Green   13%     (+2.6%)        20                25   (+5)            22 (+2)              -3

BZÖ      4%      (-6.7%)         21                 7   (-14)             7 (-14)             -/+0

 

183 Seats (92 for a majority)

SPÖ/ ÖVP            104

ÖVP/ FPÖ            94

SPÖ/ FPÖ            104

 

165 Seats (83 for a majority)

SPÖ/ ÖVP            94

ÖVP/ FPÖ            84

SPÖ/ FPÖ            94

 

Here’s my updated state of the Parties table based upon an average of the last five polls I’ve seen:

Polls

GE   2008

Change

SPO

28.80%

29.3%

-0.50%

OVP

24.20%

26%

-1.80%

FPO

25.80%

17.5%

8.30%

Greens

13.60%

10.4%

3.20%

BZO

4.40%

10.7%

-6.30%

Others

3.20%

6.1%

-2.90%

Sources: Karmasin/Profil11-0212
Gallup, 04-02-2012
Gallup, 28-01-2012
OMG, 26-01-2012
  Karmasin/Profil14-0112

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics

Coalition austerity package – Austria to have zero deficit by 2016


After 10 weeks of negotiations the ruling coalition parties announced a package of measures totalling around 26.5 billion euros, over 5 years, which they believe will see Austria achieve a zero deficit in 2016. About 70 per cent goes of the package comprises cost cutting measures, with the remaining 30 per cent accounted for through new taxes.

Austrian Chancellor and leader of the SPÖ (Social Democrats), Werner Faymann, is reported to have described the package as a ‘socially balanced budget’ and the SPÖ have highlighted the tax changes relating to assets. Vice Chancellor and leader of the (conservative) ÖVP Michael Spindelegger has placed emphasis on the extent of the planned savings. Thus both sides appear to have achieved key objectives but also to have given ground during the negotiations.

Both parties seem to be comfortable with the final agreement.

The savings include a pay freeze next year in the public sector and a modest salary increase in 2014; changes in retirement and pensions; a public sector freeze on recruitment (with some exclusions such as teacher etc); health care reforms; reduced federal government funding to the nine Austrian states; the States to make their own contribution in saving of 5.2 billion euros (partly offset by share in new tax revenues); reduced support to ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways); remove subsidies on diesel fuel for farmers and public transport.

Increased revenue measures include a new capital gains tax on real estate (excluding primary residences); financial transaction tax (introduced jointly with other EU countries from 2014); a Solidarity tax on top earners from 2013-2016; tax treaty with Switzerland.

The coalition believes its plans are realistic and achievable. The two parties appear to be full signed up, as are (if I’ve understood correctly) the ‘social partners’ from both the union and business sides.

It will be interesting to see the more detailed reaction of commentators over the next few days and that of the wider public. My initial perceptions are that this will probably get a positive response from Austrian voters if:

a) The parties really are committed to the plan.

b) They can convince people that they really are serious about following through on the implementation.

The latter may be the bigger of the two issues.

Leave a comment

Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics

Frozen lake leads to overcrowding


I had no problems, yesterday, getting a few close-ups of birdlife on the Old Danube:

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment, The odd thought or observation, Vienna Life

Photo – Vienna’s Islamic Centre in the snow


Out walking yesterday and thought Vienna’s Islamic Centre looked rather impressive set in the winter snow.

About 5% of Austria’s population are Muslim.

Leave a comment

Filed under Architecture, The odd thought or observation, Vienna Life

Classic Coffee – Posters


Those who follow this blog and/or my tweeting will be well aware of my passion for good coffee in general and Meinl coffee in particular. Another of my interests is the Vienna Secession movement which was a group formed in 1897 by Austrian artists and whose influence can still be seem throughout Vienna today.

Oddly the starting point for my daily train journey to work, on the S-bahn, brings together these two themes. The Hernals station is one of the buildings that formed the Wiener Stadtbahn  which operated from 1898 and was designed by the leading Secession movement architect and urban planner Otto Wagner.

Hernals in within a short walk of the Meinl coffee factory and this is (I assume) why the station is the location for these classic coffee posters:

The Hernals staion:

Returning to the subject of coffee, over on the Meinl website  (amongst other coffee info) is this delicious quote from a French diplomat about the beautiful drink:

Coffee ought to be hot as hell,
Black as the devil,
Pure as an angel,
Sweet as love.

Charles Maurice Talleyrand
(1754-1838 – French Diplomat)

Leave a comment

Filed under Architecture, Art, Coffee in Vienna, Design, Vienna Life

Far-right FPÖ drop to third after ‘We are the new Jews’ outrage


Well I wondered in last night’s blog posting what the short and long term impact of FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache’s comments and desperate regard action would be. Well today we’ve had the first polling evidence. The result sees the FPÖ drop to third place in the polls, as well as Strache’s own personal rating falling by 5 percentage points.

The Gallup poll for oe24:

SPÖ 29% (+1), ÖVP 25% (+1), FPÖ 24% (-3), Greens 14 (+1), BZÖ (-1)

 

Below is my updated running average of the last 5 polls I’ve seen:

Polls

GE   2008

Change

SPO

28.40%

29.3%

-0.90%

OVP

24.20%

26%

-1.80%

FPO

26.20%

17.5%

8.70%

Greens

13.60%

10.4%

3.20%

BZO

4.60%

10.7%

-6.10%

Others

3.00%

6.1%

-3.10%

Sources: Gallup, 04-02-2012
Gallup, 28-01-2012
OMG, 26-01-2012
Karmasin/Profil14-0112
Gallup, 01-01-2012

2 Comments

Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics