Europe :: Austria

Introduction ::Austria

    Once the center of power for the large Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria was reduced to a small republic after its defeat in World War I. Following annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938 and subsequent occupation by the victorious Allies in 1945, Austria's status remained unclear for a decade. A State Treaty signed in 1955 ended the occupation, recognized Austria's independence, and forbade unification with Germany. A constitutional law that same year declared the country's "perpetual neutrality" as a condition for Soviet military withdrawal. The Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995 have altered the meaning of this neutrality. A prosperous, democratic country, Austria entered the EU Economic and Monetary Union in 1999.

Geography ::Austria

    Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia
    47 20 N, 13 20 E
    total: 83,871 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 114
    land: 82,445 sq km
    water: 1,426 sq km
    slightly smaller than Maine
    total: 2,562 km
    border countries: Czech Republic 362 km, Germany 784 km, Hungary 366 km, Italy 430 km, Liechtenstein 35 km, Slovakia 91 km, Slovenia 330 km, Switzerland 164 km
    0 km (landlocked)
    none (landlocked)
    temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain and some snow in lowlands and snow in mountains; moderate summers with occasional showers
    in the west and south mostly mountains (Alps); along the eastern and northern margins mostly flat or gently sloping
    lowest point: Neusiedler See 115 m
    highest point: Grossglockner 3,798 m
    oil, coal, lignite, timber, iron ore, copper, zinc, antimony, magnesite, tungsten, graphite, salt, hydropower
    arable land: 16.25%
    permanent crops: 0.77%
    other: 82.98% (2011)
    1,170 sq km (2007)
    77.7 cu km (2011)
    total: 3.66 cu km/yr (18%/79%/3%)
    per capita: 452.4 cu m/yr (2008)
    landslides; avalanches; earthquakes
    some forest degradation caused by air and soil pollution; soil pollution results from the use of agricultural chemicals; air pollution results from emissions by coal- and oil-fired power stations and industrial plants and from trucks transiting Austria between northern and southern Europe
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    landlocked; strategic location at the crossroads of central Europe with many easily traversable Alpine passes and valleys; major river is the Danube; population is concentrated on eastern lowlands because of steep slopes, poor soils, and low temperatures elsewhere

People and Society ::Austria

Government ::Austria

    conventional long form: Republic of Austria
    conventional short form: Austria
    local long form: Republik Oesterreich
    local short form: Oesterreich
    federal republic
    name: Vienna
    geographic coordinates: 48 12 N, 16 22 E
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    9 states (Bundeslaender, singular - Bundesland); Burgenland, Karnten (Carinthia), Niederoesterreich (Lower Austria), Oberoesterreich (Upper Austria), Salzburg, Steiermark (Styria), Tirol (Tyrol), Vorarlberg, Wien (Vienna)
    12 November 1918 (republic proclaimed); notable earlier dates: 976 (Margravate of Austria established); 17 September 1156 (Duchy of Austria founded); 11 August 1804 (Austrian Empire proclaimed)
    National Day, 26 October (1955); note - commemorates the passage of the law on permanent neutrality
    1 October 1920; revised 1929; reinstated 1 May 1945; revised many times; note - during the period 1 May 1934-1 May 1945 there was a fascist (corporative) constitution in place
    civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts by the Constitutional Court
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    16 years of age; universal; note - reduced from 18 years of age in 2007
    chief of state: President Heinz FISCHER (SPOe) (since 8 July 2004)
    head of government: Chancellor Werner FAYMANN (SPOe) (since 2 December 2008); Vice Chancellor Michael SPINDELEGGER (OeVP) (since 21 April 2011)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected for a six-year term (eligible for a second term) by direct popular vote and formally sworn into office before the Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung; presidential election last held on 25 April 2010 (next to be held on 25 April 2016); chancellor formally chosen by the president but determined by the coalition parties forming a parliamentary majority; vice chancellor chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
    election results: Heinz FISCHER reelected president; percent of vote - Heinz FISCHER 79.33%, Barbara ROSENKRANZ 15.24%, Rudolf GEHRING 5.43%
    note: government coalition - SPOe and OeVP
    bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung consists of Federal Council or Bundesrat (62 seats; delegates appointed by state parliaments with each state receiving 3 to 12 seats in proportion to its population; members serve five- or six-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat (183 seats; members elected by popular vote for a five-year term under a system of proportional representation with partially-open party lists)
    elections: National Council - last held on 28 September 2008 (next to be held by September 2013)
    election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - SPOe 29.3%, OeVP 26%, FPOe 17.5%, BZOe 10.7%, Greens 10.4%, other 6.1%; seats by party - SPOe 57, OeVP 51, FPOe 34, BZOe 21, Greens 20; note - seats by party since 2012 - SPOe 56, OeVP 51, FPOe 34, Greens 20, BZOe 13, Stronach 5, other 4
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Oberster Gerichtshof (consists of 85 judges organized into 17 senates or panels of five judges each); Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgerichtshof (consists of 20 judges including 6 substitutes; Administrative Court or Verwaltungsgerichtshof - 2 judges plus other members depending on the importance of the case)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by executive branch departments and appointed by the president; judges serve for life; Constitutional Court judges nominated by several executive branch departments and approved by the president; judges serve for life; Administrative Court judges recommended by executive branch departments and appointed by the president; terms of judges and members determined by the president
    subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (4); Regional Courts (20); district courts (120); county courts
    Alliance for the Future of Austria or BZOe [Josef BUCHER]
    Austrian People's Party or OeVP [Michael SPINDELEGGER]
    Freedom Party of Austria or FPOe [Heinz Christian STRACHE]
    Social Democratic Party of Austria or SPOe [Werner FAYMANN]
    The Greens [Eva GLAWISCHNIG]
    Communist Party of Austria or KPOe [Mirko MESSNER]
    "Team Stronach for Austria" [Frank STRONACH]
    Austrian Trade Union Federation or OeGB (nominally independent but primarily Social Democratic)
    Federal Economic Chamber
    Labor Chamber or AK (Social Democratic-leaning think tank)
    OeVP-oriented Association of Austrian Industrialists or IV
    Roman Catholic Church, including its chief lay organization, Catholic Action
    other: three composite leagues of the Austrian People's Party or OeVP representing business, labor, farmers, and other nongovernment organizations in the areas of environment and human rights
    ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CD, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIFIL, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    chief of mission: Ambassador Hans Peter MANZ
    chancery: 3524 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008-3035
    telephone: [1] (202) 895-6700
    FAX: [1] (202) 895-6750
    consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador William C. EACHO III
    embassy: Boltzmanngasse 16, A-1090, Vienna
    mailing address: use embassy street address
    telephone: [43] (1) 31339-0
    FAX: [43] (1) 3100682
    three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red; the flag design is certainly one of the oldest - if not the oldest - national banners in the world; according to tradition, in 1191, following a fierce battle in the Third Crusade, Duke Leopold V of Austria's white tunic became completely blood-spattered; upon removal of his wide belt or sash, a white band was revealed; the red-white-red color combination was subsequently adopted as his banner
    golden eagle
    name: "Bundeshymne" (Federal Hymn)

    lyrics/music: Paula von PRERADOVIC/Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART or Johann HOLZER (disputed)
    note: adopted 1947; the anthem is also known as "Land der Berge, Land am Strome" (Land of the Mountains, Land on the River); Austria adopted a new national anthem after World War II to replace the former imperial anthem composed by Franz Josef HAYDN, which had been appropriated by Germany in 1922 and was now associated with the Nazi regime

Economy ::Austria

    Austria, with its well-developed market economy, skilled labor force, and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany's. Its economy features a large service sector, a sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector. Following several years of solid foreign demand for Austrian exports and record employment growth, the international financial crisis of 2008 and subsequent global economic downturn led to a sharp but brief recession. Austrian GDP contracted 3.8% in 2009 but saw positive growth of about 2% in 2010 and 2.7% in 2011. Growth fell to 0.6% in 2012. Unemployment did not rise as steeply in Austria as elsewhere in Europe, partly because the government subsidized reduced working hour schemes to allow companies to retain employees. The 2012 unemployment rate of 4.3% was the lowest within the EU. Stabilization measures, stimulus spending, and an income tax reform pushed the budget deficit to 4.5% in 2010 and 2.6% in 2011, from only about 0.9% in 2008. The international financial crisis of 2008 caused difficulties for Austria's largest banks whose extensive operations in central, eastern, and southeastern Europe faced large losses. The government provided bank support - including in some instances, nationalization - to support aggregate demand and stabilize the banking system. Austria's fiscal position compares favorably with other euro-zone countries, but it faces external risks, such as Austrian banks' continued exposure to Central and Eastern Europe as well as political and economic uncertainties caused by the European sovereign debt crisis. In 2011 the government attempted to pass a constitutional amendment limiting public debt to 60% of GDP by 2020, but it was unable to obtain sufficient support in parliament and instead passed the measure as a simple law. In March 2012, the Austrian parliament approved an austerity package consisting of a mix of expenditure cuts and new revenues that will bring public finances into balance by 2016. In 2012, the budget deficit rose to 3.1% of GDP.
    $364.9 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    $362.1 billion (2011 est.)
    $352.6 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $398.6 billion (2012 est.)
    0.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    2.7% (2011 est.)
    2.1% (2010 est.)
    $43,100 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    $43,000 (2011 est.)
    $42,000 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    25.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    25.2% of GDP (2011 est.)
    25.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 54.5%
    government consumption: 18.8%
    investment in fixed capital: 21.5%
    investment in inventories: 1.8%
    exports of goods and services: 57.1%
    imports of goods and services: -53.7%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 1.5%
    industry: 30.1%
    services: 68.4% (2012 est.)
    grains, potatoes, wine, fruit; dairy products, cattle, pigs, poultry; lumber
    construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food, metals, chemicals, lumber and wood processing, paper and paperboard, communications equipment, tourism
    1.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    3.726 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    agriculture: 5.5%
    industry: 26%
    services: 68.5% (2012 est.)
    4.4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    4.2% (2011 est.)
    6.2% (2012)
    lowest 10%: 4%
    highest 10%: 22% (2011)
    26.3 (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    31 (1995)
    revenues: $193.8 billion
    expenditures: $206.2 billion (2012 est.)
    48.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    -3.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    73.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    72.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
    note: this is general government gross debt, defined in the Maastricht Treaty as consolidated general government gross debt at nominal value, outstanding at the end of the year; it covers the following categories of government liabilities (as defined in ESA95): currency and deposits (AF.2), securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives (AF.3, excluding AF.34), and loans (AF.4); the general government sector comprises the sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government and social security funds; as a percentage of GDP, the GDP used as a denominator is the gross domestic product in current year prices
    calendar year
    2.6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    3.5% (2011 est.)
    2.5% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    2.95% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $201 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    $176.5 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
    $426.5 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    $400.8 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $543.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    $526.6 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $100.4 billion (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    $88.6 billion (31 December 2011)
    $120.7 billion (31 December 2010)
    $8.09 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    $7.242 billion (2011 est.)
    $160.1 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    $169.9 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, paper and paperboard, metal goods, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, foodstuffs
    Germany 31.4%, Italy 7%, France 4.7%, Switzerland 4.5%, US 4.4% (2012)
    $163.2 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    $175.4 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal goods, oil and oil products; foodstuffs
    Germany 42.1%, Italy 6.6%, Switzerland 5.1% (2012)
    $27.21 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    $25.16 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $808.1 billion (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    $786.1 billion (31 December 2011)
    $265.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    $253.5 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $331.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    $303.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    euros (EUR) per US dollar -
    0.7778 (2012 est.)
    0.7185 (2011 est.)
    0.755 (2010 est.)
    0.7198 (2009 est.)
    0.6827 (2008 est.)

Energy ::Austria

Communications ::Austria

    3.388 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    13.023 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    general assessment: highly developed and efficient
    domestic: fixed-line subscribership has been in decline since the mid-1990s with mobile-cellular subscribership eclipsing it by the late 1990s; the fiber-optic net is very extensive; all telephone applications and Internet services are available
    international: country code - 43; satellite earth stations - 15; in addition, there are about 600 VSATs (very small aperture terminals) (2007)
    Austria's public broadcaster, Osterreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), was the main broadcast source until commercial radio and TV service was introduced in the 1990s; cable and satellite TV are available, including German TV stations (2008)
    3.512 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    6.143 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 43

Transportation ::Austria

    52 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    total: 24
    over 3,047 m: 1
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 4
    under 914 m: 13 (2013)
    total: 28
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 3
    under 914 m:
    24 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    gas 4,736 km; oil 663 km; refined products 157 km (2013)
    total: 6,399 km
    country comparison to the world: 29
    standard gauge: 5,927 km 1.435-m gauge (3,853 km electrified)
    narrow gauge: 384 km 1.000-m gauge (15 km electrified); 88 km 0.760-m gauge (10 km electrified) (2008)
    total: 124,508 km
    country comparison to the world: 38
    paved: 124,508 km (includes 1,719 km of expressways) (2012)
    358 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    registered in other countries: 3 (Cyprus 1, Kazakhstan 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    river port(s): Enns, Krems, Linz, Vienna (Danube)

Military ::Austria

Transnational Issues ::Austria