Phone: +43 1 533.83.57
Fax: +43 1 5188.8.131.52
Below provides a profile of the Europe regional market overall, and interesting facts and information about issues important to both Austria and foreign executives working in Austria.
Austria is one of the richest countries in the world with a nominal per capital GDP of $ 43,570 with a high standard of living, and was ranked 14th in the world for its Human Development index in 2008. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, and joined the European Union in 1995. It is a founder member of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development), and has played an active role in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), also signing the Schengen Agreement in 1995. In 1999 Austria adopted the Euro.
Austria has a well developed social market economy. Until the 1980s, many of Austria´s largest industries were nationalized, however in recent years privatization has reduced state holdings to a level comparable with other European economies. Second only to industry, tourism is a very important part of the national economy. Germany has historically been the main trading partner of Austria, and from the time Austria became a member of the European Union (EU) it has gained closer ties to other EU economies. EU membership has spawned an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria´s access to a single European market, and its proximity to the aspiring economies of Eastern Europe. Growth in GDP has accelerated in recent years to reach 3.3% in 2006.
Austria currently produces more than half of its electricity by hydropower. Combined with other renewable energy sources this amounts to 63 % of total use in Austria, with the rest being produced by gas and oil power plants. In 1978 Parliament passed a law forbidding the use of nuclear power to generate electricity.
Austria’s past as a European power and its cultural environment has made a broad contribution to various forms of art, and most notably music. The country is the birthplace of Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Anton Bruckner, Johann Strauss Sr., and Jr., Gustav Mahler, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Among Austrian ‘Artists, and architects one can find the painters Waldmüller, Klimt, Kokoschka, Schiele, and Hundertwasser; all renowned for their paintings. Austria is the home of the novelists Arthur Schnitzler, Franz Kafka, Franz Werfel, Franz Grillparzer, and Rainer M. Rilke. Austria boasts numerous scientists with an international reputation such as Christian Doppler, Ferdinand Porsche, Konrad Lorenz; and eminent physicians and psychologists like Theodore Billroth, Sigmund Freud, Paul Watzlawick. Last but not least, the prominent Austrian School of Economics includes Josef Schumpeter and Friedrich Hayek.
Austria is largely a mountainous country, due to its location in the Alps, and is famous for its scenic wonders. A quarter of the total area of Austria is low lying, and 32 % of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft). The three highest mountains in Austria are: Großglockner, Wildspitze, and Weißkugel, and the lowest has an altitude of 3,738 meters. Due its mountainous terrain, alpine skiing is a prominent sport in Austria.
Austria has a practice-oriented educational system for skilled workers, a diversity of vocational schools, and close cooperation between institutes of higher education and the business community. In the worldwide ranking of the World Competitiveness Yearbook of 2009, Austria is rated among the ten best countries in terms of the quality of its educational system, ahead of Germany, France, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Total Area: 83.872 sq km/32.383 sq mi
TIME ZONE: CET (UTC +1)
EU Accession: January 1, 1995
Official language: German
Recognised regional languages: Slovenian, Croatian, Hungarian