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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. Following the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995, some Austrian's have called into question this neutrality. A prosperous, democratic country, Austria entered the European Monetary Union in 1999.

Insider tip: A comprehensive description of Austria can be found in the free ebook "Country Studies - Austria".
Geography Austria
Location: Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia
Geographic coordinates:47 20 N, 13 20 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 83,870 sq km
water: 1,426 sq km
land: 82,444 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Maine
Land boundaries: 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
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions): none (landlocked)
Climate: temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain and some snow in lowlands and snow in mountains; moderate summers with occasional showers
Terrain: in the west and south mostly mountains (Alps); along the eastern and northern margins mostly flat or gently sloping
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Neusiedler See 115 m
highest point: Grossglockner 3,798 m
Natural resources: oil, coal, lignite, timber, iron ore, copper, zinc, antimony, magnesite, tungsten, graphite, salt, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 16.89%
permanent crops: 0.99%
other: 82.12% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 457 sq km (2000 est.)
Natural hazards: landslides; avalanches; earthquakes
Environment - current issues: 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
Environment - international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, 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: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note: 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 Austria
Population: 8,174,762 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.9% (male 665,680; female 633,560)
15-64 years: 68.1% (male 2,799,411; female 2,764,426)
65 years and over: 16% (male 518,748; female 792,937) (2004 est.)
Median age: total: 40 years
male: 38.8 years
female: 41.2 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.14% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 8.9 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 9.56 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: 2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 4.68 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 5.76 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.87 years
male: 76 years
female: 81.89 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.35 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 9,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 100 (2001 est.)
Nationality: noun: Austrian(s)
adjective: Austrian
Ethnic groups: German 88.5%, indigenous minorities 1.5% (includes Croatians, Slovenes, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Roma), recent immigrant groups 10% (includes Turks, Bosnians, Serbians, Croatians) (2001)
Religions: Roman Catholic 74%, Protestant 5%, Muslim 4%, other 17%
Languages: German (official nationwide), Slovene (official in Carinthia), Croatian (official in Burgenland), Hungarian (official in Burgenland)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Austria
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Austria
conventional short form: Austria
local short form: Oesterreich
local long form: Republik Oesterreich
Government type: federal republic
Capital: Vienna
Administrative divisions: 9 states (Bundeslaender, singular - Bundesland); Burgenland, Kaernten, Niederoesterreich, Oberoesterreich, Salzburg, Steiermark, Tirol, Vorarlberg, Wien
Independence: 1156 (from Bavaria)
National holiday: National Day, 26 October (1955); note - commemorates the State Treaty restoring national sovereignty and the end of occupation and the passage of the law on permanent neutrality
Constitution: 1920; revised 1929 (reinstated 1 May 1945)
Legal system: civil law system with Roman law origin; judicial review of legislative acts by the Constitutional Court; separate administrative and civil/penal supreme courts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal; compulsory for presidential elections
Executive branch: chief of state: President Thomas KLESTIL (since 8 July 1992) note - will remain in office until 8 July 2004
head of government: Chancellor Wolfgang SCHUESSEL (OeVP)(since 4 February 2000); Vice Chancellor Hubert GORBACH (since 21 October 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
elections: president elected by direct popular vote for a six-year term; presidential election last held 25 April 2004 (next to be held NA April 2010); chancellor traditionally chosen by the president from the plurality party in the National Council; vice chancellor chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
note: government coalition - OeVP and FPOe
election results: Heinz FISCHER elected president; percent of vote - Heinz FISCHER (SPOe) 52.4%, Benita FERRERO-WALDNER (OeVP) 47.6%
Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung consists of Federal Council or Bundesrat (62 members; members represent each of the states on the basis of population, but with each state having at least three representatives; members serve a five- or six-year term) and the National Council or Nationalrat (183 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - OeVP 42.3%, SPOe 36.5%, FPOe 10.0%, Greens 9.5%; seats by party - OeVP 79, SPOe 69, FPOe 18, Greens 17
elections: National Council - last held 24 November 2002 (next to be held in the fall of 2006)
Judicial branch: Supreme Judicial Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Administrative Court or Verwaltungsgerichtshof; Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgerichtshof
Political parties and leaders: Austrian People's Party or OeVP [Wolfgang SCHUESSEL]; Freedom Party of Austria (also known as the Liberal Party) or FPOe [Herbert HAUPT]; Social Democratic Party of Austria or SPOe [Alfred GUSENBAUER]; The Greens [Alexander VAN DER BELLEN]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Austrian Trade Union Federation (nominally independent but primarily Socialist) or OeGB; Federal Economic Chamber; OeVP-oriented League of Austrian Industrialists or VOeI; Roman Catholic Church, including its chief lay organization, Catholic Action; three composite leagues of the Austrian People's Party or OeVP representing business, labor, and farmers and other non-government organizations in the areas of environment and human rights
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Eva NOWOTNY
chancery: 3524 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008-3035
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
FAX: [1] (202) 895-6750
telephone: [1] (202) 895-6700
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador William Lee LYONS BROWN, Jr.
embassy: Boltzmanngasse 16, A-1090, Vienna
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [43] (1) 31339, 31375, 31335
FAX: [43] (1) 5125835
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red
Economy Austria
Economy - overview: Austria, with its well-developed market economy and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany's. Membership in the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market and proximity to EU aspirant economies. Slow growth in Germany and elsewhere in the world held the economy to 0.7% growth in 2001, 1.4% in 2002, and again less than 1% in 2003. However, recent data signal that the recovery has started. The government estimates economic growth in 2004 of 1.7-2.1% and of 2.5% in 2005. The government is planning a EURO 500 billion income tax cut in 2004, though some economists doubt it will have stimulative effects in 2004, because it will be offset by higher health insurance contributions and higher taxes on energy. For 2005, Austria plans a tax cut of EURO 2.5 billion and harmonization of the various pension schemes. To meet increased competition from both EU and Central European countries, particularly the new EU members, Austria will need to emphasize knowledge-based sectors of the economy, continue to deregulate the service sector, and lower its tax burden. A key issue is the encouragement of much greater participation in the labor market by its aging population.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $245.5 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.8% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $30,000 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 2%
industry: 33%
services: 65% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line: 3.9% (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 22.5% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 31 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.2% (2003 est.)
Labor force: 4.3 million (2001)
Labor force - by occupation: services 67%, industry and crafts 29%, agriculture and forestry 4% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4.3% (2003 est.)
Budget: revenues: $67 billion
expenditures: $70 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2004 est.)
Industries: construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food, chemicals, lumber and wood processing, paper and paperboard, communications equipment, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: 3.8% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production: 58.75 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 29.3%
hydro: 67.2%
other: 3.5% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption: 54.85 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports: 14.25 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports: 14.47 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production: 20,670 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption: 262,400 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: 35,470 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports: 262,000 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves: 85.69 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production: 1.731 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 7.81 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 403 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 6.033 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 24.9 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Agriculture - products: grains, potatoes, sugar beets, wine, fruit; dairy products, cattle, pigs, poultry; lumber
Exports: $83.45 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, paper and paperboard, metal goods, chemicals, iron and steel; textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners: Germany 31.5%, Italy 9.3%, Switzerland 5.4%, US 4.9%, UK 4.9%, France 4.7%, Hungary 4.3% (2002)
Imports: $81.59 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal goods, oil and oil products; foodstuffs
Imports - partners: Germany 42.6%, Italy 6.6%, Hungary 5.1%, Switzerland 4.8%, Netherlands 4.4% (2002)
Debt - external: $15.5 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $520 million (2002)
Currency: euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by the financial institutions of member countries; as of 1 January 2002, the euro became the only legal tender in EMU member countries, including Austria
Currency code: EUR
Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 0.89 (2003), 1.06 (2002), 1.12 (2001), 1.09 (2000), 0.94 (1999)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Austria
Telephones - main lines in use: 3.988 million (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 6.415 million (2002)
Telephone system: general assessment: highly developed and efficient
domestic: there are 48 main lines for every 100 persons; the fiber optic net is very extensive; all telephone applications and Internet services are available
international: country code - 43; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 1 Eutelsat; in addition, there are about 600 VSAT (very small aperture terminals) (2002)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 65 (plus several hundred repeaters), shortwave 1 (2001)
Radios: 6.08 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 10 (plus more than 1,000 repeaters) (2001)
Televisions: 4.25 million (1997)
Internet country code: .at
Internet hosts: 367,933 (2002)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 37 (2000)
Internet users: 3.34 million (2002)
Transportation Austria
Railways: total: 6,021 km (3,552 km electrified)
standard gauge: 5,565 km 1.435-m gauge (3,430 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 34 km 1.000-m gauge (28 km electrified); 422 km 0.760-m gauge (94 km electrified) (2003)
Highways: total: 200,000 km
paved: 200,000 km (including 1,633 km of expressways)
unpaved: 0 km (2000)
Waterways: 358 km (1999)
Pipelines: gas 2,722 km; oil 687 km; refined products 149 km (2003)
Ports and harbors: Enns, Krems, Linz, Vienna
Merchant marine: total: 6 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 29,624 GRT/37,425 DWT
by type: cargo 4, container 2
registered in other countries: 34 (2003 est.)
foreign-owned: Netherlands 1
Airports: 55 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 24
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 14 (2003 est.)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 31
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 27 (2003 est.)
Heliports: 1 (2003 est.)
Military Austria
Military branches: Land Forces (KdoLdSK), Air Forces (KdoLuSK)
Military manpower - military age: 19 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 2,066,467 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 1,699,384 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 48,981 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $1.497 billion (FY01/02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 0.8% (FY01/02)
Transnational Issues Austria
Disputes - international: minor disputes with the Czech Republic over the Temelin Nuclear Power Plant
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and South American cocaine destined for Western Europe