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Austria-INTERNAL SECURITY





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Austria Index

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An Austrian-manned United Nations checkpoint on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria
Courtesy United States Department of Defense

Respect for the law and devotion to social tranquillity are engrained in the Austrian character. Domestic groups committed to violence or terrorism play no significant political role. No major strikes, unruly demonstrations, or public unrest have threatened the stability of the Second Republic. Because of a high standard of living and minimal unemployment, crime remains relatively low. Assaults and other crimes involving violence are particularly uncommon, although crimes against property have risen more than 10 percent in some years. Law enforcement agencies are efficient and are regarded with respect. Since the late 1980s, however, instances of mistreatment of arrested persons and improper activities of the organs of security have made necessary measures to restore the public's confidence in the police.

Austria has been the country of first asylum for 2 million refugees from Eastern Europe since the end of World War II. Austria's hospitality toward refugees underwent a change in the early 1990s as political refugees were outnumbered by economically motivated immigrants seeking work. Feeling it necessary to stem the flow, Austrian authorities tightened entry requirements and reinforced regular border guards with armed forces, mainly to prevent illegal Romanian immigrants from entering the country through Hungary. Beginning in mid-1991, thousands of Yugoslavs were allowed into Austria as a result of civil war in their country, although more than 100,000 were turned back at the point of entry. As of May 1993, about 65,000 refugees had been admitted from the former Yugoslavia.

Austria is a frequent setting for international negotiation and conciliation, and individuals representing a wide spectrum of beliefs are permitted to carry out political activities without interference within its borders. In addition to being the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Vienna is the site of major East-West negotiations. Austria has traditionally maintained good relations with many Middle Eastern states, and various Arab groups are allowed to operate freely in Austrian territory.

There is perhaps a price to be paid for this tolerance, however. Several terrorist incidents have been linked to situations in the Middle East, one of the worst occurring at an OPEC meeting in Vienna in 1975 when three men were killed, many were wounded, and thirty-three hostages were taken from among the Arab leaders attending. Attacks against Jewish targets in 1981 and among passengers awaiting a flight on El Al, the Israeli airline, at the Vienna airport in 1975 led to the imprisonment of several Arab terrorists. In 1987 the former Libyan ambassador to Austria, who was an opponent of Muammar al Qadhafi's regime in Libya, was wounded in an assassination attempt. In 1989 three Kurdish activists, including the leader of the Iranian Kurdish Democratic Party, were assassinated during a meeting with three Iranian officials. Criticism was leveled against Austrian authorities for their failure to curb the activities of the Libyan and Iranian diplomatic missions, whose personnel were implicated in the attacks.

Prior to the adoption of an autonomy agreement in 1969, agitation among German-speaking residents of South Tirol (the province of Alto Adige in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige) for its return to Austrian control from Italy was accompanied by a campaign of terrorist bombings. In 1967 army units were moved to the border area to support the gendarmerie and border police in preventing Austrian territory from being used as a sanctuary and source of explosives. Terrorist incidents dropped off sharply thereafter, although, after an unsuccessful attempt to derail a train in 1988, a South Tirolean was sentenced by an Austrian court to a five-and-one-half-year prison term (see Regional Issues , ch. 4).

According to public opinion surveys, anti-Semitism continued to exist in Austria to some extent, and some Austrians remained pro-Nazi (see Attitudes Toward Minorities , ch. 2). Although freedom of assembly and association are provided for in the constitution, the State Treaty of 1955 and previous legislation made an exception in the case of Nazi organizations and activities. In early 1992, the security authorities cracked down on the neo-Nazi network after one group, the Trenck Military Sports Group, was found to have handguns and automatic weapons and to engage in paramilitary training. Police intelligence discovered that the groups had received funds and propaganda material from the United States and Canada. Moreover, thousands of names of sympathizers had reportedly been found in the files of Gottfried K├╝ssel, a central figure in the neo-Nazi movement.

Data as of December 1993



BackgroundOnce 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. The Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995 have altered the meaning of this neutrality. A prosperous, democratic country, Austria entered the EU Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. In January 2009, Austria assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2009-10 term.
LocationCentral Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia
Area(sq km)total: 83,871 sq km
land: 82,445 sq km
water: 1,426 sq km
Geographic coordinates47 20 N, 13 20 E
Land boundaries(km)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(km)0 km (landlocked)

Climatetemperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain and some snow in lowlands and snow in mountains; moderate summers with occasional showers

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Neusiedler See 115 m
highest point: Grossglockner 3,798 m
Natural resourcesoil, coal, lignite, timber, iron ore, copper, zinc, antimony, magnesite, tungsten, graphite, salt, hydropower
Land use(%)arable land: 16.59%
permanent crops: 0.85%
other: 82.56% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)40 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)84 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 3.67 cu km/yr (35%/64%/1%)
per capita: 448 cu m/yr (1999)
Natural hazardslandslides; avalanches; earthquakes
Environment - current issuessome 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 agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, 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: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notelandlocked; 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
Population8,210,281 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 14.5% (male 609,748/female 581,144)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 2,785,091/female 2,756,402)
65 years and over: 18% (male 612,613/female 865,283) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 42.2 years
male: 41.1 years
female: 43.2 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)0.052% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)8.65 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)9.98 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)1.85 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 67% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)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: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 4.42 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.39 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.41 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 79.5 years
male: 76.6 years
female: 82.56 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)1.39 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Austrian(s)
adjective: Austrian
Ethnic groups(%)Austrians 91.1%, former Yugoslavs 4% (includes Croatians, Slovenes, Serbs, and Bosniaks), Turks 1.6%, German 0.9%, other or unspecified 2.4% (2001 census)

Religions(%)Roman Catholic 73.6%, Protestant 4.7%, Muslim 4.2%, other 3.5%, unspecified 2%, none 12% (2001 census)
Languages(%)German (official nationwide) 88.6%, Turkish 2.3%, Serbian 2.2%, Croatian (official in Burgenland) 1.6%, other (includes Slovene, official in Carinthia, and Hungarian, official in Burgenland) 5.3% (2001 census)

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Austria
conventional short form: Austria
local long form: Republik Oesterreich
local short form: Oesterreich
Government typefederal republic
Capitalname: Vienna
geographic coordinates: 48 12 N, 16 22 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions9 states (Bundeslaender, singular - Bundesland); Burgenland, Kaernten (Carinthia), Niederoesterreich (Lower Austria), Oberoesterreich (Upper Austria), Salzburg, Steiermark (Styria), Tirol (Tyrol), Vorarlberg, Wien (Vienna)
Constitution1920; revised 1929; reinstated 1 May 1945; note - during the period 1 May 1934-1 May 1945 there was a fascist (corporative) constitution in place

Legal systemcivil 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

Suffrage16 years of age; universal; note - reduced from 18 years of age in 2007
Executive branchchief of state: President Heinz FISCHER (SPOe) (since 8 July 2004)
head of government: Chancellor Werner FAYMANN (SPOe) (since 2 December 2008); Vice Chancellor Josef PROELL (OeVP) (since 2 December 2008)
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 (eligible for a second term); presidential election last held 25 April 2004 (next to be held in April 2010); chancellor formally chosen by the president but determined by the coalition parties forming a parliamentary majority; vice chancellor chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
election results: Heinz FISCHER elected president; percent of vote - Heinz FISCHER 52.4%, Benita FERRERO-WALDNER 47.6%
note: government coalition - SPOe and OeVP
Legislative branchbicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung consists of Federal Council or Bundesrat (62 seats; members chosen by state parliaments with each state receiving 3 to 12 members in proportion to its population; members serve five- or six-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat (183 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: National Council - last held 28 September 2008 (next to be held by September 2013)
election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - SPOe 29.3%, OeVP 26%, FPOe 17.5%, BZOe 10.7%, Greens 10.4%, other 6.1%; seats by party - SPOe 57, OeVP 51, FPOe 34, BZOe 21, Greens 20

Judicial branchSupreme Judicial Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Administrative Court or Verwaltungsgerichtshof; Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgerichtshof

Political pressure groups and leadersAustrian Trade Union Federation or OeGB (nominally independent but primarily Social Democratic); Federal Economic Chamber; OeVP-oriented Association of Austrian Industrialists or IV; Roman Catholic Church, including its chief lay organization, Catholic Action
other: three composite leagues of the Austrian People's Party or OeVP representing business, labor, farmers, and other nongovernment organizations in the areas of environment and human rights
International organization participationACCT (observer), ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G-9, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, MINURSO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU (observer), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red; the flag design is certainly one of the oldest - if not the oldest - national banners in the world; according to tradition, following a fierce battle in the Third Crusade, Duke Leopold V of Austria's white tunic became completely blood-spattered; upon removal of his wide belt or sash, a white band was revealed; the red-white-red color combination was subsequently adopted as his banner

Economy - overviewAustria, with its well-developed market economy and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany's. Its economy features a large service sector, a sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector. Following several years of solid foreign demand for Austrian exports and record employment growth, the global economic downturn in 2008 led to a recession that is likely to persist through 2009. The government's stabilization measures could increase the budget deficit to about 2.8% of GDP in 2009 and above 3% in 2010, from about 0.6% in 2008. The Austrian economy has benefited greatly in the past from strong commercial relations, especially in the banking and insurance sectors, with central, eastern, and southeastern Europe, but these sectors have been vulnerable to recent international financial instabilities, and some of Austria's largest banks have required government support. Even after the global economic outlook improves, Austria will need to continue restructuring, emphasizing knowledge-based sectors of the economy, and encouraging greater labor flexibility and greater labor participation to offset its aging population and exceedingly low fertility rate.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$331.2 billion (2008 est.)
$324.7 billion (2007 est.)
$313.7 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$414.8 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)2% (2008 est.)
3.5% (2007 est.)
3.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$40,400 (2008 est.)
$39,600 (2007 est.)
$38,300 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 1.9%
industry: 30.7%
services: 67.4% (2008 est.)
Labor force3.633 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 5.5%
industry: 27.5%
services: 67% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)3.9% (2008 est.)
4.4% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)5.9% (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 3.3%
highest 10%: 22.5% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index26 (2007)
31 (1995)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)22.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $196.4 billion
expenditures: $200.7 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)3.2% (2008 est.)
2.2% (2007 est.)

Stock of domestic credit$606.2 billion (31 December 2008)
$504.8 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA (31 December 2008)
$228.7 billion (31 December 2007)
$191.3 billion (31 December 2006)
Public debt(% of GDP)62.6% of GDP (2008 est.)
64.2% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productsgrains, potatoes, sugar beets, wine, fruit; dairy products, cattle, pigs, poultry; lumber
Industriesconstruction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food, metals, chemicals, lumber and wood processing, paper and paperboard, communications equipment, tourism

Industrial production growth rate(%)2.4% (2008 est.)

Current account balance$14.27 billion (2008 est.)
$12.03 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$179.1 billion (2008 est.)
$162.1 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, paper and paperboard, metal goods, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners(%)Germany 29.5%, Italy 8.6%, US 4.3%, Switzerland 4.2% (2008)
Imports$179.2 billion (2008 est.)
$160.3 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal goods, oil and oil products; foodstuffs
Imports - partners(%)Germany 44.5%, Italy 7.1%, Switzerland 5.2%, Netherlands 4.1% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$16.7 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$18.22 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$832.8 billion (31 December 2008)
$801.4 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$261.9 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$247.9 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$270 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$240.9 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.6827 (2008 est.), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004)

Currency (code)euro (EUR)

Telephones - main lines in use3.285 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular10.816 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: highly developed and efficient
domestic: fixed-line subscribership has been in decline since the mid-1990s with mobile-cellular subscribership eclipsing it by the late 1990s; the fiber-optic net is very extensive; all telephone applications and Internet services are available
international: country code - 43; satellite earth stations - 15; in addition, there are about 600 VSATs (very small aperture terminals) (2007)
Internet country code.at
Internet users5.937 million (2008)
Airports55 (2009)
Pipelines(km)gas 2,721 km; oil 663 km; refined products 157 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 107,262 km
paved: 107,262 km (includes 1,677 km of expressways) (2006)

Ports and terminalsEnns, Krems, Linz, Vienna
Military branchesLand Forces (KdoLdSK), Air Forces (KdoLuSK)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18-35 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age for male or female voluntary service; service obligation 6 months of training, followed by an 8-year reserve obligation; conscripts cannot be deployed in military operations outside Austria (2009)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,986,411
females age 16-49: 1,944,834 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,607,456
females age 16-49: 1,576,335 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 50,540
female: 48,042 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)0.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
Disputes - internationalwhile threats of international legal action never materialized in 2007, 915,220 Austrians, with the support of the newly elected Freedom Party, signed a petition in January 2008, demanding that Austria block the Czech Republic's accession to the EU unless Prague closed its nuclear power plant in Temelin, bordering Austria

Electricity - production(kWh)58.64 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 29.3%
hydro: 67.2%
nuclear: 0%
other: 3.5% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)61.89 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)14.93 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)19.8 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)24,850 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)285,400 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)45,580 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)305,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Economic aid - donorODA, $1.498 billion (2006)

Oil - proved reserves(bbl)50 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)1.532 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)8.65 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)2.788 billion cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)16.14 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.2% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS9,800 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 100 (2003 est.)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: NA
female: NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2006)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)5.4% of GDP (2005)








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