Reconstruction - Corona development announced

Work, strengthening the location, greening and digitization - the federal government is focusing on these subject areas as part of its so-called comeback plan for economic reconstruction after the corona pandemic. "It is about the goal of getting 500.000 people back into employment within a year who are now on short-time work or unemployed," said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) on Saturday. What specific measures the comeback plan contains will still be worked out, it said when asked by the Ministry of Finance.

In any case, the EU's corona development fund, endowed with 750 billion euros, is likely to play an important role. Austria accounts for 3,5 billion euros. The Ministry of Finance has until the end of April to submit projects in the areas of climate, digital or education in order to collect the money.

Labor Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP), Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) and Finance Minister Gernot Blümel (ÖVP) should work in cooperation with Ministers Rudolf Anschober (Greens), Heinz Faßmann, Margarete Schramböck and Elisabeth Köstinger (all ÖVP) and State Secretary Andrea Mayer (Greens ) and State Secretary Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) are now working on the specific content.

Details are only being negotiated

The first discussions between Gewessler, Kocher and Blümel took place on Monday. In the coming weeks, further steps will be presented step by step. As the "Wiener Zeitung" reported, a government meeting was also announced, at which the comeback plan will probably also be tinkered with.

Much of the priorities mentioned here are included in the government program: the expansion of broadband, which is now supposed to be faster, public transport, greening the tax system, relieving the burden on small and medium-sized incomes, and strengthening the location.

It is still unclear which specific development projects Austria will submit to the EU Commission for the so-called recovery fund, the Corona development plan. "After an intensive exchange between Austria and the EU Commission took place in the past few months, the entire project overview will shortly be sent to the Commission and subsequently implemented," said the Ministry of Finance when asked. As a reminder: Austria can call up 3,5 billion euros for investment projects in the field of climate, digitization, education. The registration period for the € 750 billion EU development fund runs until the end of April.

The comeback plan is endowed with "several billion euros", the exact amount is still unclear. It is also unclear what proportion the 3,5 billion from Brussels make up. Due to the ongoing pandemic and massive slumps in many industries, the budget for 2021 will be adapted, Finance Minister Blümel announced on Monday. “What is clear is that it will take money,” and there will also be more money.

In 2020, the federal government spent a total of 20,2 billion euros on corona aid. Originally 13,1 billion euros were earmarked for this year. In addition, according to a list of the budget service in parliament, there is another 5,5 billion in the context of an “excess authorization”. 4 billion euros of this flow into fixed cost subsidies via the corona financing agency, Cofag. How high the budget increase should be is still to be decided.(del)