“Today everything is speculation”

“We can return to normality faster”. This was the message of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at this morning’s (4 May) press conference in Vienna. But that was it for the concrete. Kurz emphasised that three points have priority at the moment: 1. relieving the burden on working people, 2.) relieving the burden on the economy and 3.) strengthening regionalisation. What this could mean in concrete terms, however, the Chancellor referred to the talks with the social partners that are taking place this week.

Only two questions were allowed. The very first one was briefly and succinctly dismissed. The question whether an accompanying app was a prerequisite for the resumption of tourism. And on the other question, Kurz lost himself in vague hints, strictly according to the motto “everything can, nothing must”.

Plannability is essential for the economy

In the press statements after the talks with the social partners, individual ministers appeared before the cameras. In principle, one can agree with the many generalities such as “planning is essential for the economy”. However, when asked, it is pointed out that the talks have just begun. It is pointed out that these talks are to be concluded in weeks in order to put together an overall package that will boost demand, promote exports and secure jobs. All true, I suppose. But somehow also hard to bear when you don’t know how to get through the next month.

When journalists asked about the possibility of planning for the tourism industry, the same picture emerged: there will be a package to help the tourism industry get back on its feet, and clarity about border openings will only come in consultation with neighbouring countries. In short, nothing is known for sure.

Looking at the following pictures from the cabinet room, one could not help but get the impression that no one really knows which way is “faster to normality”. One can even understand that, but it does not bode well.

Published 27. June 2021Updated 16. April 2022