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Foreign firms create 1,900 jobs in Vienna

Almost 2,000 new jobs were created by foreign businesses in Vienna last year, according to the Economy Chamber (WKO).

Brigitte Jank, who heads the Viennese department (WKW) of the WKO, said yesterday (Tues) that the 126 foreign enterprises which settled in the city in 2011 invested large sums – and employed 1,900 men and women. Jank underlined that 70 per cent of foreign investments in Austria were currently directed to the federal capital. There has never been a year with a higher number of foreign firms coming to Vienna, according to the WKW president.

Most of the companies which started operating in Vienna in 2011 have their headquarters in Germany. However, some US American fashion chains also opened stores in the city last year. These developments could help politicians to stabilise the city’s labour market. Vienna’s unemployment rate has risen in the past months.

The city coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and Greens want to concentrate on offering better education to young people and older workers who lost their job recently to reduce the number of job seekers. Industrialists and businesspeople have complained about the low general education of applicants and trainees. Many of them were unable to name the mayor of Vienna and the Austrian president or say of how many provinces Austria consisted.

SPÖ Vienna Financial Councillor Renate Brauner recently stressed she would not pull the plug on education and traineeship programmes despite the city’s sky-high debts. The debts of Vienna – which registered a 4.8 per cent jobless rate increase from December 2010 to the same month of 2011 – are expected to climb in the coming years despite a recent series of tax increases.

Mayor Michael Häupl’s SPÖ and the city’s Greens Party announced last December that a charge known as underground train tax would rise by 177 per cent. The decision means that all firms based in Vienna which have one employee or more who do 10 hours a week or more must pay two Euros per staff member a week instead of only 72 Eurocent since 1 January 2012. All revenues from the charge are invested in the improvement and extension of the public transport system of the city which has 1.7 million residents but 2.2 million daily tram, bus and U-Bahn passengers.

SPÖ and Greens angered the city parliament’s opposition but also associations representing pet owners by deciding to charge people who own a dog with 72 Euros a year as of January. This was a sharp increase compared to the previous amount of the fee which has been 43.60 Euros for years. Residents of Vienna owned 52,000 canines last year, according to official figures. However, experts assume that the true figure could be almost twice as high.

Now city hall authorities have made clear that officials would soon swarm out to look for illegally kept dogs – and fine their owners. A spokesman for the responsible office announced yesterday that significantly more citizens cancelled their pet dog registrations in the first two months of this year than in January and February 2011. He explained that public servants would check if dogs which had been registered to live with people in regions just outside Vienna where actually based there. Those who did not relocate their pets but tried to evade paying the higher dog-keeping charge would be fined, he warned.

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