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Sunday, 22 April 2018

If your teen kids are night owls, avoid Austria

Brits may be horrified, but Austria's nine state governments have for many years been able to regulate a host of social behaviour matters from car washing and noise to teen curfews. In particular, it was this last area that locals felt was most overdue for reform; 'county lines' differences allowed teens to cross from an early bedtime state to a party state to carry-on the night. 

It reminds me of formative drinking years in Ipswich, where all pubs would close at 10.30pm without exception. On Wherstead Road, however, just outside the borough boundary, stood the 'Ostrich' - subject to Suffolk hours, and open until 11.00pm. I think they used to sell more beer in the last half hour of the day then they did all evening beforehand.

Anyway, the Austrian states have just agreed a common teen curfew. Under 14s must be safely indoors by 11.00pm, whilst 14 - 16 year olds can stay out until 1.00am. The curfews apply to tourists' kids as well as natives - and if breached can cost parents a hefty fine. Wine and beer are pretty unrestricted, but spirits can only be bought by over 18s. And from next year an unheard-of restriction bans under 18s from buying cigarettes. In one of Europe's most heavily smoking nations, it's a big move. Still, kids can still get their nicotine fix at home - the idea of 'passive smoking' simply hasn't taken root here. 


Bloke in North Dorset said...

The opening hours in York used to be similar. One side of the river they were 10am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 10:30pm. On the other say they were 10:30am to 3pm and 5:30pm to 11pm. There was a fair bit of drunken pedestrian traffic across the bridges.

As to Austria, those times are a lot later than I would have let my son out as a 14 year old.

right-writes said...

Have they taken a leaf out of the Swiss book of democracy Raedwald?

How do these nine states govern?

I don't smoke, but I would be a bit worried about the new smoking restrictions... Thin edge?

Raedwald said...

As for smoking, smokers are free to smoke in I'd guess 60% - 70% of bars and restaurants. It's generally up to the owner, but establishments over a given size have to provide a non-smoking room. Ciggies are cheap - about £3.90 for a cheap brand pack, given the nearness of non-EU borders. The FPOe now in coalition government are staunch defenders of smokers' rights, though they face a strong anti-smoking movement plus the EU - tobaccophobic zealots.

It's not as Federal or devolved as Switzerland here but the States have a fair degree of autonomy, sometimes over the most unexpected things; my own state has its own approved model of fuse cupboard, or vertailer. While UK consumer units are the size of a first-aid box, mine is the size of a small fridge, made of 60kg of steel and called by the manufacturer without a hint of irony the 'Eco'. It's probably aimed at keeping the manufacturer, Schrack, in business. There's lots of protectionist stuff like that here - most of which simply ignores all the EU 'State Aid' restrictions.

Dave_G said...

It just goes to show how intrusive politics has become in everyone's lives - rules and legislation over peoples lives differing across the continent. So much for EU 'integration' eh?

Anonymous said...

Ostrich now a Pemier Inn.

Aaaaaaarrrghn! 😱

jack ketch said...

So much for EU 'integration' eh?

Indeed and so much for the nonsense of Brussels 'making our laws' and 'imposing laws' on us. Mind you I can't help but feel the Slightly More Smoking Friendly Austrian .gov have only delayed the inevitable by accepting and propagating the myths around smoking in cars etc etc

jack ketch said...

As to Austria, those times are a lot later than I would have let my son out as a 14 year old.

Call me a "Rabenvater" ('a raven dad' ie 'bad dad') but living in Germany I always felt it was far safer for my kids to be out that late until they reached the age of 14.

"Safer" because simply the Age Of Criminal Responsibility in Germany was always 14! So no matter what *mischief* my 11-12-13 year old lads got up to (and I was 'per du' or '1st name terms' with the cops so often did they bring my kids home), they were 'safe'....not sure the same might be said of the local population, mind.

Budgie said...

Jack Ketch, No matter how much you wriggle or engage in special pleading Declaration 17 (Lisbon) affirms the primacy of EU law. That many on the continent disregard EU law and the EU turns a blind-eye to it, doesn't make it right. Or even efficient.

The communists worked on the principle of creating so many laws that you had to break some to function in life. So when they came for you they always had a "legitimate" reason. The EU mimics that.

There is a principled line between, on the one hand, enough laws to ensure the poor and weak are protected from depredations by the rich and powerful, and on the other, so many laws that we have to break some to live sensibly. The EU crossed that line some time ago.

Dave_G said...

@Budgie - well said.

The difference between the EU and the UK is that, in the main, in the EU, if it isn't specifically permitted then 'anything' you do may be illegal (not permitted).

In the UK the opposite applies - if it isn't specifically illegal, you can do 'anything'.

I know which I prefer living under.....

jack ketch said...

affirms the primacy of EU law.- Budgie

Indeed it does, as I have always maintained in the face of BrexSShiteurs (most of whom seem to think it is actually in the Treaty of Lisbon) , here and elsewhere, claiming it affirmed the 'supremacy' of EU law so I'm surprised you think I would 'wriggle' on that one? One of the best things to come out of the ECJ IMO, hell I'd like the text as a Tshirt. No matter how the BrexSShiteurs wriggle & plead(or perhaps whine) Primacy is not Supremacy.

jack ketch said...

In the UK the opposite applies - if it isn't specifically illegal, you can do 'anything'.

Up to Blair that was more or less true. I too would prefer to live under such a 'common law' system...perhaps you would be so kind as to let me know when the yUK returns to such a one?

Budgie said...

Jack Ketch, Declaration 17 is in the Lisbon treaty; I have a copy of it on my shelves. Dec17 states that EU law has "primacy over the law of Member States" so EU law cannot be "overridden by domestic legal provisions". That means EU law stands supreme in the UK, above and controlling our own law. We can do nothing about that until we Leave.

Domo said...

Possibly an oversight but it doesn't mention supervision.
You may not expect a 13 year old to be out alone after 11pm, but I presume many have left a familial gathering after that hour on occasion

Raedwald said...

Domo - I suspect there's much to be decided before 2019, when the law is scheduled. Particularly conservative states such as Upper Austria, with a current curfew of 10pm for under 14s and 12pm for 14 - 16s, who are now lobbying to 'roll back' the more generous proposed limits.

Here, with Italy a 10 minute drive away, many families already adopt an Italian evening - an early sleep, and everyone comes alive again at 8 or so, with dinner at 10 and second sleep at 2am. I suspect Tirol and Kärnten would both oppose any earlier curfew.

Mark Wadsworth said...

It's a sad old world where we consider countries that allow smoking in pubs as beacons of freedom. Which they are a bit, but only by our downtrodden UK serf standards.