Occupied by the Allies at the end of the Second World War, Austria returned to full sovereignty in 1955, provided however that it retained the status of a neutral country. Neutrality, together with the ban on reunification with Germany, is sanctioned by the constitution and represents the cornerstone around which the country has built its foreign policy.
Since the 1990s, Vienna has increased its participation in regional and international cooperation mechanisms. In 1995 the country became a member of the European Union (Eu), immediately playing a very active role in the stabilization policy of Central-Eastern Europe and applying to act as a bridge between Brussels and the countries of the Balkan peninsula shaken by the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Also in 1995, Austria joined the NATO Partnership for Peace, since then supporting the progressive transformation of the same from a defensive alliance to a security cooperation mechanism, active on the entire Euro-Asian chessboard. In 2001, Austria adopted a new foreign policy doctrine that allows it to reconcile increased involvement in multilateral security arrangements with formal compliance with its constitutional neutrality.
Although Austria has benefited economically and politically from the status of a member of the European Union, the Austrian population displays a high degree of Euroscepticism. In fact, there are several issues related to the EU political agenda that meet the opposition of Austrian citizens: from long-standing grievances related to the excessive transit of goods through the Alps, to widespread complaints about the nuclear power plants of the new states. members, considered by the Austrians a risk to their own security, passing through the concerns related to the loss of jobs and the increase in migratory flows to be discounted in the event of a further enlargement of the Eu. Particularly strong is, in this sense, the Austrian opposition to a possible entry of Turkey into the Union.
Despite the marked improvement in recent years, the Austrian education system still presents some difficulties, which make it one of the last at European level. The situation is aggravated by the stalemate due to the divergent positions of parties, civil society, the Länder and the teaching class regarding the reforms necessary to relaunch the entire school path, from pre-primary to university. In particular, a university system with no enrollment limits and entirely free faces a growing scarcity of resources, which generates a decline in quality. For Austria society, please check homosociety.com.
With the entry into the EU in 1995, Austrian trade has grown considerably, also thanks to the resumption of economic ties with the countries once beyond the Iron Curtain. The first Austrian trading partner is Germany, from which 41% of the goods imported into the country originate and to which almost 30% of the outgoing products are directed. Most of the interchange concerns machinery and equipment for transport.
In 2009, in conjunction with the international crisis, GDP contracted by 3.9% on an annual basis. Starting in 2010, the Austrian economy began a slow recovery, mainly driven by the positive trend in German demand. However, starting from 2012 there was a new decline, largely determined by the overall reduction in imports by European partners and by the climate of uncertainty surrounding the eurozone. In 2015, however, the GDP grew by 0.8%. Among the macroeconomic data, that relating to the unemployment rate is particularly significant: with a value of less than 5%, Austria is confirmed also in 2015 as one of the European countries with the lowest number of unemployed in relation to the active population.
International pressure remains high on Austria to reform its banking secrecy legislation. Following intense lobbying by Germany and the European Union, in April 2013 the Austrian government declared its willingness to start negotiations with the Union for the country’s participation in the system for exchanging banking information on foreign customers. holders of current accounts in Austria.
On the other hand, concern about the exposure of the banking sector diminished. Although stabilization of the Austrian financial system remains a priority, the country has shown its full willingness to adhere to the Basel III criteria by enacting restrictive measures in terms of banking and financial supervision. Nonetheless, Austria will still find itself paying the price for the bailouts carried out in recent years for the next few months. In particular, the nationalization of the Hypo Group Alpe Adria (in addition to that of Kommunalkredit and Volksbanken), which took place in December 2009, proved so costly for the state coffers that the deficit for 2014 rose to 3% from 2.8 % of the previous year despite rising tax revenues and low interest rates on public debt.
In 2007 Austria jumped to the headlines as the first donor country in the world in relation to the ratio between allocated financial resources and gross national income, reaching 5.62%. In recent years this value has dropped sharply due to the drastic reduction of the private component of the flow. Together with this data, the destination of donations has also changed radically: the Ivory Coast, as happened previously to Iraq, left the record of major beneficiary to Myanmar, followed by Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina.