Austria in a nutshell
TThe 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.
AAustria’s nominal GDP at current prices increased by €9.7 billion, or 3.5%, to approximately €284 billion in 2010. Hence, GDP per capita increased to € 33.850 (+3.2%). Real GDP is estimated to have grown by 2% in 2010. After the most significant drawback in economic growth since World War II which also had hit Austria in 2009 (when the GDP declined by 3.9% compared to the previous year), the Austrian economy gained momentum again in 2010. The global economic development improved likewise. According to forecasts, Austria’s economy shall grow by 1.7% in 2011 and 2.1% in 2012. The average increase for the EU countries was 1.8%, the Eurozone faced an upswing of the economy by 1.8% as well. Austria’s GDP is and is expected to remain above the EU-27 and the Eurozone growth levels.
Unemployment rates remained virtually constant during 2010. Austria had the lowest or second-lowest unemployment rate in the European union with around 5% in 2010. Only the Netherlands did better in some months among all the 27 EU members. In February 2011, Austria has dropped to third place in the EU with unemployment rate increase to 4.8%, behind the Netherlands (4.3%) and Luxembourg (4.5%).
Austria’s Inflation grew by 1.3% in the first quarter of 2010, 1.8% in the second, 1.7 in the third and 2% in the last quarter of 2010. Annual inflation rose to 1.7% in 2010, up from 0.4% in the previous year. The first figures for 2011 show inflation of 2.5% in January, 3.1% in February and 3.3% in March – the highest rates since October 2008. In December 2010 the rate was 2.2%. Main driving forces of the inflation were fuels, which went up by 18% from January to January and heating oil (+21%). Half the inflation was caused by more expensive petrol and diesel, as well as living costs. Based on the first results of 2011, the economic research institute also put up its prognoses for this year and next by a substantial amount. It raised its prediction for the current year from 2% to 2.4% and for next year from 1.8% to 2.5%. The reasons for the new prognoses were the already high, and presumably still rising , prices of crude oil and other raw materials. Nominal wages grew by 1.5% in 2010, in line with lower wage increases agreed by unions. Nominal wages are expected to grow at a rate slightly higher above inflation during 2011-2015.
Austria’s foreign trade saw a prosperous year. Both imports and exports grew by approximately 16% in comparison to the previous year. This mark does not bring foreign trade to its pre-crisis mark, though. The recovery from the massive falls in 2009 comes along with a trade deficit of €4.26 billion.
In 2010, exports from Austria increased by 16.5% to €109.19 billion. Austria’s main destinations of Exports are Germany, accounting for 32% of total exports from Austria, Italy (8%), Switzerland (5%) and the USA (5%). Europe is the destination of 82% of Austria’s total exports. Asia accounts for another 9% (30% of which goes to China, 10.5% to Japan and 6.7% to India) and America for 7% of the total (65% of which goes to the USA).
Imports to Austria increased by 16.3% to €113.45 billion in 2010. Main origins of imports are Germany, which is the source of 44.82% of Austria’s total imports, Italy (7%), Switzerland (5%) and China (5%). 83% of Austria’s imports come from Europe, 11% from Asia (45% of which is from China, 14% from Japan and 7% from Kasakhstan) and 4.3% from America (68% of which comes from the USA).
This brochure published by “Statistics Austria” gives an insight into the living conditions of the people in Austria. Findings and statistics from economy and society are presented in text, table, and chart form by Statistics Austria and provide information on a wide variety of subjects: The booklet has information on population, education, employment and the job market, the economy, science and technology, tourism, environment, and other topics. A separate section offers characteristics of the nine Austrian Länder. The publication is available as a download (PDF, 9 MB) free of charge.
Austria and India
DDiplomatic relations between India and Austria were established in 1949. President Fischer visited India in February,2005.
India’s exports to Austria remain on a constant growth track and registered an increase by approximately 10% y-o-y in 2010 with total export volume amounting €483.1 million. This marks an increase by 55% on 2006 Indian exports volume to Austria and an average exports growth by 12% y-o-y.
As far as India’s imports from Austria are concerned, after registering a -8% decrease in 2009, trade has gone back on track and registered an upturn by 16.9%, which represent a 7.6% growth based on pre-crisis levels. 2010’s imports from Austria amounted €654.9 million. After a great jump by 41.8% in 2007, trade results indicate an average growth on imports by 16.5%.
There have been over 500 business collaborations (including over 100 technological and over 60 involving financial participation, representation offices) between the two countries. There are an estimated over 10,000 Indians (majority from Kerala) living in Austria— working primarily in the health care and business sectors
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