Austrian ministers to forego a month's salary amid pandemic

Austrian government announces ministers will donate their April salaries to organizations involved in the fight against COVID-19.

Elad Benari ,

Sebastian Kurz
Sebastian Kurz

The Austrian government announced on Monday that ministers would forego a month’s net salary as a sign of solidarity with those who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Millions of people are having to tighten their belts or are facing financial difficulty,” said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, according to AFP.

“In this difficult time, we want to send a signal of solidarity,” he added, explaining that the ministers’ salaries would be donated to organizations involved in the fight against COVID-19.

Austria last week became one of the first countries in Europe to loosen a lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, allowing thousands of shops to reopen.

The country acted early in its outbreak to close schools, bars, theaters, restaurants, non-essential shops and other gathering places. It has told the public to stay home and work from there if possible.

According to the latest official figures, 470 people have died in Austria from coronavirus.

Kurz recently said that it was a phone call from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that made him act to curb the virus.

“I contacted Bibi Netanyahu and he told me his opinion, that several countries in Europe aren’t doing enough and that he is concerned that Europe isn’t treating the problem as it should,” he told Israel’s Kan 11 News in an interview two weeks ago.

“This, of course, caused us to treat the issue more firmly and quickly make decisions. I thank Bibi Netanyahu for the conversation we held a few weeks ago which led to the fact that we were the first to respond in Europe,” added the Chancellor.