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.