Creative Industries Austria
Population: 8,754,413 (July 2017 est.)
Internet country code: .at
three 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, in 1191, 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
Republic of Austria / Republik Österreich
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. 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.
Austria is a well-developed market economy with skilled labor force and high standard of living. It is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany’s, but also the US’, its third-largest trade partner. Its economy features a large service sector, a sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector.
Austrian economic growth strengthen in 2017, with a 2.9% increase in GDP. Austrian exports, accounting for around 60% of the GDP, were up 8.2% in 2017. Austria’s unemployment rate fell by 0.3% to 5.5%, which is low by European standards, but still at its second highest rate since the end of World War II, driven by an increased number of refugees and EU migrants entering the labor market.
Austria’s fiscal position compares favorably with other euro-zone countries. The budget deficit stood at a low 0.7% of GDP in 2017 and public debt declined again to 78.4% of GDP in 2017, after reaching a post-war high 84.6% in 2015. The Austrian government has announced it plans to balance the fiscal budget in 2019. Several external risks, such as Austrian banks’ exposure to Central and Eastern Europe, the refugee crisis, and continued unrest in Russia/Ukraine, eased in 2017, but are still a factor for the Austrian economy. Exposure to the Russian banking sector and a deep energy relationship with Russia present additional risks.
Austria elected a new pro-business government in October 2017 that campaigned on promises to reduce bureaucracy, improve public sector efficiency, reduce labor market protections, and provide positive investment incentives.