The Republic of Austria is located in southern Central Europe. With an area of 84,000sqkm and 8.3 million population, it encompasses the EasternAlps and the Danube Region. Austria has been at crossroads of travel routes between the major European economic and cultural regions. Austria is land-locked, sharing borders with 8 countries: Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland & Liechtenstein. Austria is a federal state comprising 9 provinces: Burgenland Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Upper Austria, Vienna and Vorarlberg.
Austria became an important force in central Europe with the formation of the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 15th century. Following its defeat in World War I, the former Empire gave way to the present day Republic. New constitution was adopted in 1918. Democracy was suspended in 1933; German Reich occupied Austria from 1938-1945. After WW II, Austria participated in the Marshall Plan. The 1955 State Treaty — that granted sovereignty from Allied powers – declared the country ‘permanently neutral’. Austria is a member of the European Union since 1995, and adopted the Euro currency since its introduction in 2002.
Austria is a democratic republic with a bicameral Parliament. The 183-member National Council (Nationalrat) is elected directly by the people. The 64 members of the Federal Council (Bundesrat) are delegated by the provincial parliaments. Head of state is the President (Bundespräsident) Dr.Heinz FISCHER (Socialist Party) having taken over on July08, 2004 . He was re-elected as the President of Austria in April 2010. The last National Election took place on 28th September 2008 and a grand coalition government between SPÖ and the ÖVP took charge on 2nd December 2008. Head of Government is the Federal Chancellor (Bundeskanzler) Werner Faymann of the Socialist Party (SPÖ) and the Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister is Mag. Josef Proell (ÖVP). The Austrian Federal Foreign Minister is Michael Spindelegger (ÖVP). The Green, the right wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and the FPÖ’s splinter group BZÖ ( Alliance for the Future of Austria) are in opposition.
Around 65% of the population is urban. 93% of the Austrians speak German. 78% are Roman Catholic, 5% Protestant, 9% non-denominational. The ethnic minorities in Austria include — Croats, Slovenes, Magyars, Czechs, Slovaks and Roman. Population growth rate is estimated at 0.25%. Vienna, Graz, Salzburg and Innsbruck are the main Austrian cities. Austria has 18 universities. The University of Vienna, one of the oldest universities in Europe, was founded in 1365.
Natural resources in Austria include iron ore, oil, timber, magnesite, lead, coal, lignite, copper, and hydropower. Leading industries include food-processing, machinery, steel, chemicals, automotive, electronics. Austria has a social market economy. Many of the country’s largest firms were nationalized in the early post-war period. Since early 1990s a great number of these have been privatized. Austria has high quality tourist assets (natural beauty, alpine ski resorts and rich cultural heritage). The capital Vienna is a vibrant cultural city. It was home to many great classical music composers – Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss family as also several thinkers and philosophers (e.g. Freud). 16 Austrians have so far been awarded the Nobel Prize. Vienna hosts several multilateral organizations including OSCE, IAEA, UNIDO, UNDCP and OPEC, OOSA, UNODC, INCB, UNCITRAL, etc.
Austria is one of the most globalized countries in the world. This is the conclusion of the latest KOF Globalization Index published by the renowned Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. This index, which is compiled on an annual basis, measures the economic, social and political dimensions of globalization of 191 countries around the world. Austria performs impressively, ranked fourth behind Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The economic dimension of the KOF Globalization Index quantifies actual trade and investment flows, but also the extent to which countries protect themselves by imposing restrictions on trade and capital movements. The social dimension reflects the flow of ideas and information, whereas the political dimension examines the degree of political cooperation between countries.
According to the Austrian National Bank on its June 2014 economic outlook, the Austrian economy is expected to grow by 1.6% in 2014. Exports will continue to be the main driver of the upswing this year, benefitting from the gradual recovery in the euro area and the moderate improvement in the global economy. Growth will accelerate to 1.9% and 2.1% in 2015 and 2016, respectively, being increasingly supported by domestic demand. HICP inflation is expected to decrease to 1.8% in 2014 and to 1.7% in 2015. According to the forecast, inflation will also remain moderate in 2016 (1.9%).
OeNB June 2014 Economic Outlook for Austria - Key Results1
Austria and India
Austria, a member of the European Union since 1995 is an important link for India in its relationship with Europe, especially with countries of central and Eastern Europe. The Indo-Austrian Joint Economic Commission (JEC) established in 1983 is active and on-going (13th session was organized in India on 11 September 2013) between the governmental Ministries and Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the two countries. There has been cooperation in the fields of steel, manufacturing technology, railway and transport, equipment, metallurgy through a large number of collaborations, technology transfers and joint ventures.
India's main exports to Austria are Footwear, Textiles, Articles Of Leather, Articles Of Apparel And Clothing Accessories, Vehicles, Rolling Stock (And Parts And Accessories Thereof), Machinery And Mechanical Appliances (And Parts Thereof), Electrical Machinery And Equipment, Organic Chemicals and Pharmaceutical Products.
The latest figures of India-Austria bilateral trade are: