Austria Plans Increase in Foreign Policy Budget for 2024

PeopleOther ♦ Published: November 20, 2023; 18:09 ♦ (Vindobona)

The increased budget for foreign policy matters was discussed as part of the current deliberations in the Budget Committee on the Federal Finance Act 2024. Accordingly, the budget is to rise to 677.2 million euros in the coming year, which corresponds to an increase of 41.7 million euros or 6.6 percent compared to 2023.

The budget for foreign affairs is set to amount to € 677.2 million in the coming year. / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

A significant part of the budget is earmarked for operating expenses such as inflation adjustment and the ongoing operation of the embassies. Funds for personnel and investments in foreign buildings are also to be increased. Despite a slight reduction in transfer payments, Austria is increasing funding for development aid and the Foreign Disaster Fund.

Priorities and new initiatives

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg announced important projects for 2024, including the opening of an embassy in Ghana as well as the Austrian chairmanship of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region and the Slavko 3 format.

In the coming year, more budget has been earmarked for foreign policy planning than for foreign policy measures. The funds for the central office in the Foreign Ministry are to increase by 17.3 percent, mainly due to higher personnel costs and inflation. Additional funds are earmarked for strengthening the Vienna office and conference activities.

The planned opening of the embassy in Ghana will be supported with start-up funding of EUR 3 million in 2024 and a further EUR 1.5 million in the following year. This underlines Austria's commitment to Africa and its foreign policy ambitions.

The debate in the committee also shed light on Austria's neutrality policy and its commitment to humanitarian aid, particularly about Ukraine. Schallenberg emphasized that Austria sees its role as a partisan state for international humanitarian law and is actively committed to peace diplomacy.

Despite the planned budget increase, the rate of development aid is expected to fall, which is also due to inflation and one-off expenditure in the previous year. However, the Foreign Ministry is emphasizing its efforts in the fight against climate change and international climate diplomacy.

The increased budget for foreign policy reflects Austria's efforts to step up its diplomatic efforts and address global challenges. However, the planned increase contrasts with an expected decrease in the budget by 2027, which raises questions about long-term financial planning and possible savings.

Austrian Parliament