The new financing guidelines for the energy cost subsidy are shaking some entrepreneurs’ heads. In particular, the indirect ban on outdoor heating is met with incomprehension. In addition to heating sponges and radiant heaters, this also means the end of heated chairlifts. ÖVP city councilor and state party chairman Karl Mahrer said Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler apparently lived “in a green winter fairytale”.
With the funding, the federal government has placed “an urgently needed emergency aid for businesses on a solid footing,” Mahrer said. This could significantly de-escalate the looming situation in the third winter of the crisis.
“Banned from green ideology”
But according to the ÖVP city councilor: The use of heating sponges in the catering industry is prohibited out of “green ideology”. “Gewessler is far from the reality of people’s lives and apparently lives in a green winter fairytale,” said state party chairman Karl Mahrer.
Economy wants further measures
The Chamber of Commerce shows itself to be forgiving. “With the energy cost subsidy approved today, there is now an initial positive signal of support in coping with the massive cost increases,” said Sigi Menz, president of the Federal Department of Industry. “However, additional measures are urgently needed to strengthen the international competitiveness of companies”.
Also the chairman of the Federal Department of Tourism and Leisure Industry, Robert Seeber, praised “that something is finally happening”: “But it must also be made very clear that the subsidy in the offered form with up to 10 times higher energy costs Compared to the previous year and the upcoming CO2 pricing in October will not be enough.”
The Wirtschaftsbund also welcomed the presented support package: “This emergency measure brings relief to the Austrian economy and its many hard-working entrepreneurs. But to keep domestic products competitive in the global market in the long term, this short-term measure should not stop there.”
“Purely Symbolic Politics by Mrs. Gewessler”
Gastro spokesman Mario Pulker, on the other hand, cannot understand the terms of the funding: “Linking the end of mushroom heating to funding is purely symbolic policy of Ms. Gewessler. Energy consumption is a minimal part of all tourism. She could not constitutionally prohibit them.” He explained that negotiations were still to be done here: “We don’t know what else will be banned, except the heating pads.”
The SPÖ criticized the planned CO2 tax. “This will be turquoise green’s next political mistake,” SPÖ deputy club boss Jörg Leichtfried criticized. “In times of record inflation, when energy prices will continue to rise and entire industries of ours could collapse, it is absurd to push prices further with a new tax.”
The FPÖ in particular was a thorn in the side of the heating sponge. “The ban on Energy Minister Gewessler’s ‘warming sponge’, who is completely blinded by green ideology, is nothing more than another attack on our catering establishments. This industry has suffered enough from months of shutdown as a result of the government’s Corona coercive regime, now they apparently want to damage it even further – we will not allow that!” explains FPÖ tourism spokesman Gerald Hauser.
I’m Wayne Wickman, a professional journalist and author for Today Times Live. My specialty is covering global news and current events, offering readers a unique perspective on the world’s most pressing issues. I’m passionate about storytelling and helping people stay informed on the goings-on of our planet.