Austria set to stub out smoking ban
Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) said Monday that a planned ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants due to come into force in mid-2018 will be scrapped.
FPOe chief Heinz-Christian Strache said that the reversal was agreed in ongoing talks to form a coalition with the conservative People's Party (OeVP) following elections in October.
"The freedom to choose lives on. The existence of restaurants (particularly small ones) has been secured. Thousands of threatened jobs have been saved," said Strache, 48, himself a smoker.
Unlike in most of Europe, in Austria people can smoke in eateries under certain conditions—which are widely flouted—including that it is confined to separate rooms.
The outgoing government, a coalition of the OeVP and the Social Democrats, passed a law in 2015 banning smoking completely in bars and eateries, which was due to take effect next May.
The new government, which Strache and non-smoker OeVP head Sebastian Kurz, 31, want installed before Christmas, will however make some concessions, media reports said.
© 2017 AFP