Read the latest headlines about bilateral relations in the areas of economy, business, diplomacy, culture and tourism between Austria and its partners
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Vienna's Foreign and Bilateral Relations

Central and Eastern Europe's Financial Elite Gathered at the CEE Forum in Vienna

The 21st Euromoney Central and Eastern European Forum ended in Vienna today, where 1000 delegates from the region joined local and international investors to help plan, debate and analyze the economic agenda for the region for the year ahead. The vast majority of the delegates have a negative outlook for the year 2016. Only one of the participants expects that this year CEE will grow more than 3.5%.

January 20, 2016

Austrian Foreign Ministry Welcomes Completion of Next Phase of the Vienna Agreement with Iran

The Austrian Foreign Minister welcomed the successful completion of the preparatory phase for the implementation of the Vienna Agreement between the E3/EU+3 and Iran. He hopes that Iran will assume a constructive role in resolving regional conflicts.

January 19, 2016

Germany's Steinmeier Formally Assumes 2016 OSCE Chairmanship

OSCE to serve as a platform for real and honest dialogue on today’s security challenges, says Steinmeier, as Germany formally assumes 2016 OSCE Chairmanship.

January 15, 2016

Black Diamond Equipment Relocates European Headquarters from Switzerland to Austria

Producer of climbing, skiing, mountain sports equipment Black Diamond will move its European headquarters from Basel to Innsbruck. Tim Bantle has been appointed Managing Director. Black Diamond is actively recruiting staff for the new office, with approximately 35 jobs across sales, marketing, customer service, operations and finance. The new office is expected to be operational in May 2016. Black Diamond Equipment was established in 1989 and has its headquarters in Salt Lake City in Utah.

January 14, 2016

Central and Eastern European Forum in Vienna next Week

The Central and Eastern European Forum - organized by Euromoney - is taking place in Vienna next week. 1,000 top level policymakers, issuers, and commentators from the region will join local and international investors to help plan, debate and analyze the economic agenda for the region for the year ahead.

January 13, 2016

Kurz: North Korea is Increasingly Isolating Itself from the International Community

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz condemns the latest North Korean nuclear test in the strongest terms and underlines his full trust in the CTBTO.

January 11, 2016

Strabag Builds Hydroelectric Power Plant in Bosnia-Herzegovina Worth € 57 Million

A consortium consisting of Austrian construction group Strabag and Croatian industrial company Končar has been awarded the contract to build the Vranduk power plant on the river Bosna on behalf of energy supply company JP Elektroprivreda BiH.

January 11, 2016

EU to Crack Down on Postal Rip-Offs including Austrian Post

The FT reports that Brussels is preparing a regulatory crackdown against rip-off pricing by national postal operators on cross-border parcel deliveries. According to a study, cross-border parcel deliveries are often five times more expensive than identical trips on the domestic market. While the price of a standard 2 kg parcel delivery in Austria with the national postal operator is €4.44, to have that same parcel send to neighbouring Italy would cost €14. Sending the same parcel back from Italy to Austria will rise to €25. In order to connect the common market, the EU wants to develop the potential of e-commerce and to boost cross-border trade. According to the FT, a spokeswoman of the European Commission said that early next year the Commission will “launch measures to enhance price transparency and regulatory oversight” of the European parcel delivery market.

December 22, 2015

Austrian-Russian Friendship Society to Appoint Richard Schenz as New President

Dr. Richard Schenz has recently been appointed as new President of the Austrian-Russian Friendship Society (ORFG - Österreichisch-Russische Freundschaftsgesellschaft). He succeeds CEO Ludwig Scharinger who left office for health reasons. KR Sen.hc Richard Schenz is a Vice President of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKO). He was formerly CEO of OMV and Capital Markets Advisor to the Austrian Minister of Finance.

December 22, 2015

Austria's Ambassador to the U.S. Hans Peter Manz Bids Farewell

Ambassador to the U.S. Dr. Hans Peter Manz will leave Washington and return to Vienna upon completion of his four year mission. Hans Peter Manz has served as Austria’s ambassador to the United States in Washington, D.C., from December 2011 to December 2015. Before moving to the U.S., Dr. Manz was the Austrian Ambassador to Switzerland. During his diplomatic career, Dr. Manz served in a variety of positions, including inter alia, foreign policy advisor to the Chancellor of Austria. His overseas postings included Tehran, Bern and New York. Ambassador Manz will be succeeded by Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner.

December 18, 2015

UniCredit Final Restructuring Program on Bank Austria's Retail Business

UniCredit announced a major step in its strategic plan execution, by launching a profound restructuring program on its Austrian retail business that will enable Bank Austria to develop its business in a sustainable way, while bringing down significantly its cost income ratio. The restructuring plan will allow to reduce by 2018 Bank Austria's overall costs by € 150mn per year on an ongoing basis on top of the Strategic Plan and with main focus on personnel expenses, leading to an overall cost decrease by almost € 300mn versus 2014 in order to ensure the business sustainability in the long-run.

December 15, 2015

Burgenland to Be Pilot-Province for Courses on Values for Refugees

On the sidelines of a conference of experts on Integration of Austria's regional governments in Eisenstadt, Sebastian Kurz and Norbert Darabos announced a workshop cooperation between the Austrian Integration Fund (AIF) and the Federal Province of Burgenland: the AIF will offer workshops on integration for refugees and immigrants.

December 15, 2015

Report: Drug Money and Opiate Trafficking on the Balkan Route

A report recently launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that the total value of illicit heroin and opium trafficked from Afghanistan to Western Europe through the Balkans amounts to some $28 billion every year. Sixty-five per cent of this total ($18 billion) is generated in Western and Central Europe.

December 14, 2015

US Company Contour Moves European Headquarters from Paris to Vienna

The Vienna-based European headquarters will be the strategic centre for all thermal and renewable energy facilities in Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Armenia, Spain, Northern Ireland and Ukraine.

December 11, 2015

Multi-Million-Dollar Funding Agreement between Qatar and UNODC Signed in Vienna

Unprecedented funding agreement between UNODC and Qatar leaves lasting legacy for Doha Declaration. The agreement, totaling more than US$49 million and slated to run over four years, is to deliver projects related to justice, prisoners, youth and justice education.

December 11, 2015

Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Council of Ministers Places 27 New Diplomats at Head of Embassies

The Council of Ministers of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to place 27 new Austrian diplomats at head of Austrian Embassies worldwide.

December 10, 2015

RBI Sells Slovenian Subsidiary to US Private Equity Firm Apollo

Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) has reached an agreement to sell its Slovenian bank, Raiffeisen Banka d.d., to Biser Bidco, which is managed by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management, LLC. The purchase price has not been disclosed. The expected deconsolidation effect on RBI’s consolidated result will amount to minus EUR 49 million.

December 10, 2015

India Forum at the Austrian Federal Chamber of Commerce

Recently the Foreign Trade Department of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber organised an event focused on India. Entitled “Parameters for Your Success with Business in India”, the event counted with the participation of ca. 70 Austrian companies and entrepreneurs aiming for India or potentially being interested in doing business there.

December 3, 2015

Californian Woman Can Not Take Austrian Railways to Court in the US

Supreme Court says, Carol Sachs who was heavily injured in Innsbruck can’t sue in the US. Her lawsuit against the Austrian national railroad ÖBB for injuries that she suffered while attempting to board a train in Austria does not fall within the “commercial activity” exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, and is therefore barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The American wanted USD 20 million compensation from ÖBB.

December 2, 2015

Constantia Flexibles Acquires SE Asian Labels Producer Pemara

Constantia Flexibles Group strengthens its position in the Southeast Asia labels market by acquiring the Australian company Pemara Labels Group. The parties agreed not to disclose any financial details and the transaction is expected to close in the next few months. Pemara operates four plants in Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia, along with sales offices in Sydney (Australia) and Manila (Philippines).

December 1, 2015

Andritz Subsidiary Schuler Lands Large-Scale Contract in China

Schuler AG has received a further major order from FAW Volkswagen Automotive Co., Ltd. The Chinese company ordered press line with ServoDirect Technology and a servo tryout press for its Qingdao facility. With a total force of 81,000 kilonewtons, the servo press line will be mainly used to produce car body parts, such as hoods or doors. The order value is in the middle double-digit-million-euro range.

November 30, 2015

Linhart: “Solidarity With Persecuted Religious Minorities in the Middle East”

The Secretary General for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Michael Linhart received the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, Louis Raphael I Sako, and the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Teheran, Ramzi Garmou for talks on the situation of religious minorities in the Middle East, including in Iran. “The commitment to freedom of religion and the protection of religious minorities, especially of persecuted Christians in the region is a focal point of Austria’s foreign policy”, Secretary General Linhart outlined: “Therefore, we seek the dialogue with interested partners. The religious leaders play an important role in this, as religions must be a part of a lasting solution.”

November 27, 2015

Foreign Minister Kurz Met Adel al-Jubeir and King Salman bin Abdulaziz

During his first visit to Saudi Arabia, Austria's Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz was received both by his Saudi Arabian counterpart Adel al-Jubeir, as well as King Salman bin Abdulaziz. The talks included besides bilateral issues - which also include economic relations - the future of Syria, the danger of the "Islamic State" and human rights.

November 27, 2015

EBRD to Become 30 Per Cent Shareholder in Raiffeisen Bank Aval

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is about to become a 30 per cent shareholder in Raiffeisen Bank Aval JSC (RBA), a leading universal bank in Ukraine and a subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI), under an agreement signed in Kiev today.

November 25, 2015

Hungarian Central Bank Buys Austria's 68.8% Stake in Budapest Stock Exchange

Austrian shareholders CEESEG and OeKB sell their 68.8% stake in Budapest Stock Exchange to Hungarian Central Bank for €42m ($45m), the Hungarian central bank confirmed officially.

November 24, 2015

Austria Supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's EU Reform Agenda

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Secretary General, Linhart visited Sarajevo. EU-accession and fight against radicalization were in the centre of the talks. Linhart: “Full support for the Bosnian reform route”.

November 20, 2015

"Terrorism Cannot Be Justified by any Means and Stands in Clear Contradiction to Islam"

The President of the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGiÖ), Fuat Sanac, and Minister for Integration, Sebastian Kurz in a joint reaction vehemently condemned the terrorist attacks in Paris.

November 19, 2015

Austria Contributes EUR 3 Mln to New EU-Aid Programme for Africa

On the occasion of the establishment of the EU-trust-fund, which aims at combating the reasons for migration and flight in Africa, against the backdrop of the EU-summit in La Valletta, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz underlined the necessity that Europe provides suitable answers to the challenges posed by the current refugee crisis. Austria will support the fund with EUR 3m from the Austrian Development Agency’s (ADA) budget.

November 19, 2015

Journalism Award “Writing for CEE 2015” Goes to Martin Leidenfrost

The EUR 5,000 Writing for CEE journalist prize has been awarded for the twelfth time. Journalists from all round Europe – including Northern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe and the CIS countries – have been invited to submit their works. The Austrian Journalist Martin Leidenfrost wins the “Writing for CEE 2015” award for his column "Expedition Europe". At the award ceremony writer and honorary guest Karl-Markus Gauß touched on the discovery of Europe and SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said, that Europe faces new boundaries and divisions.

November 18, 2015 · Updated: November 20, 2015; 19:00

Only Full EU-Integration Can Stabilise the Western Balkans for a Lasting Time

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz commented on the European Commission’s progress reports, which were presented earlier this month: “Most of the Western Balkans countries’ progress on their way in direction of EU-membership is noticeable and positive. The Commission’s new methodology renders possible an improved analysis on the progress made in the respective countries in the last year. This creates a positive competition. The new progress reports also underscore that all candidate countries still have a lot of hard work before them and EU support towards this is essential. The current refugee crisis is no exception in this respect as it shows, how important the Western Balkans countries and Turkey are to Europe in tackling this particular challenge.”

November 18, 2015

Linhart: “Foreign Policy Should Focus on Stabilization of Neighbouring Regions”

“The European foreign policy must focus more of its attention on the neighborhood, the stabilization thereof – and in the case of the Western Balkans, their way towards the EU – has to be our European priority”, Secretary General for Austrian Foreign Affairs, Dr. Michael Linhart declared on the occasion of the 19th Europe Forum of the Austria Institute for Europe and Security Policy (AIES) in the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna

November 18, 2015

Three Austrians Were Present in Outrageous Attack in Bataclan Concert Hall

According to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs also three Austrians were present in the Bataclan concert hall, one of the attacks' targets.

November 18, 2015

OSCE States Adopt Declaration Condemning Paris Terrorist Attacks

In a special meeting of the Permanent Council in Vienna to discuss the recent attacks in Paris, the 57 OSCE participating States have adopted a declaration condemning the ‘brutal and indiscriminate’ Paris attacks and recent terrorist atrocities.

November 17, 2015

OSCE Condemns Paris Attacks

The OSCE joined world leaders and other international organizations in swiftly denouncing the attacks. OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić assured France that “all OSCE participating states stand by you at this hour, sharing the belief that no political cause can ever justify such heinous acts.”

November 17, 2015

VTB Bank Austria has Passed the European Central Bank’s Stress Tests

To meet these requirements, VTB Bank (Austria) AG boosted the capital, raising its consolidated capital ratio from 9.3% as of the end of 2014 to 13.7% as of the end of September 2015.

November 16, 2015

Bank Austria Posts Net Profit of EUR 660 Million for the First Nine Months

UniCredit Bank Austria announced that net profit in the three months to end-September dropped to 172 million euros from 291 million in the previous three months. As reported, the bank plans to terminate up to 14,000 jobs and restructure or exit its retail business in Austria and leasing operations in Italy as it seeks to strengthen its equity.

November 11, 2015

UniCredit - Bank Austria: CEE Operations Move from Vienna to Milan - Retail Business to be Sold or Restructured

Until the end of 2016, all CEE interests with currently 48,000 employees have to be transferred to Milan. Until now this division has been the most important earner for Bank Austria. The 13 banking subsidiaries of Bank Austria in Eastern and Southeastern Europe employ nearly 48,000 people - and thus the majority of the approximately 57,000 employees of Bank Austria. The retail banking business of in Austria with 1.6 million customers has to be sold or restructured, Unicredit announced in the afternoon.

November 11, 2015

Tensions Prior to Announcement of the UniCredit Savings Plans

It is rumored that the groupwide reduction of up to 14,000 jobs will be announced today. It is also about the future of Bank Austria. Bank Austria's parent UniCredit may withdraw the group's CEE head office from Vienna.

November 11, 2015

Press Freedom: Every Fifth Day a Journalist is Killed at Work

According to a report from Unesco, worldwide more than 700 reporters have been killed from 2006 to 2014 in the exercise of their profession. On International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the OSCE Representative calls on participating States to step up their investigations.

November 2, 2015

OSCE: Peace and Stability in Europe Impossible without Protecting Human Rights

Protecting and promoting human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, is inextricably linked to the preservation of peace and stability within and between States, participants said today at the opening of a two-day OSCE meeting in Vienna.

October 29, 2015

Austria will Remain an Asylum Country with Tradition

Since 1945 more than two million refugees have come to Austria, whereby almost 700,000 have remained here - that is about 9 per cent of the total population of Austria. Every second refugee had a different mother tongue than German. The refugee crises occurred in a mysterious sequence, as every twelve years, large waves of refugees arrived in Austria: 1956, 1968, 1980 and 1992.

October 28, 2015

Iranian Foreign Minister to Participate in Syria Conference in Vienna

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will attend the conference on Syria in Vienna on Friday. This has been confirmed today by the Foreign Ministry in Tehran, according to the official news agency ISNA. Iran will meet in Vienna not only to Russia and the USA, but also to its nemesis Saudi Arabia.

October 28, 2015

VIG Completes Acquisition of Latvian Non-Life Insurer Baltikums AAS

Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) has finalized the 100-percent acquisition of Riga-based Baltikums AAS. As a result of the acquisition, Vienna Insurance Group is now one of the top five insurers on the Latvian market.

October 27, 2015

Recommendations from the EU to Help Austria Improve Its Economic Performance

The Austrian economy has stagnated since the second quarter of 2012. Energy prices have helped lower inflation, but core inflation is stable. The labour market has performed strongly, but challenges lie ahead. Fiscal consolidation has slowed down in 2014 due to the cost borne by the government for the financial sector, which translated into higher deficit and debt ratios. Despite a solid, but moderate current account surplus, Austria has suffered a pronounced loss in world trade market shares. While the economy is free of major imbalances, maintaining competitiveness and long term growth prospects requires constant attention and consistent policy efforts. The Commission has made four country-specific recommendations to Austria to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of public finances, taxation and pensions, labour market and education, services, and the financial sector.

October 26, 2015

Joint Russia-US Fight against ISIS: Kerry and Lavrov to Hold Syria Talks in Vienna

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday in Vienna to discuss the Syrian conflict together with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The meeting was made possible following the involvement of Vladimir Putin in serious diplomacy and the surprise visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Moscow on Tuesday.

October 23, 2015

Bank Austria Sells Prominent Property "The Mall" to Morgan Stanley Consortium

UniCredit Bank Austria AG announces that the purchase agreement for the shopping centre The Mall at Wien Mitte was signed with Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI), pending approval by the antitrust authorities.

October 22, 2015

Xi Jinping's Strategy Represents a Significant Threat to European Industry

AEGIS Europe, the manufacturing alliance of 30 European industry associations express skepticism at Chinese President Xi Jinping's remarks to the media during London visit. The alliance called into question Mr Xi's comments to the media about China's orientation towards a more open and transparent market.

October 21, 2015

RBI’s Russian Subsidiary Sells its Pension Fund Business

RBI’s Russian subsidiary (AO Raiffeisenbank) closed the sale of its pension fund business (ZAO NPF Raiffeisen) to the Russian BIN Group. The transaction will result in a one-off gain before tax of around EUR 87 million for RBI, which will be booked in the fourth quarter of 2015. It has been agreed that the parties will not disclose the price at which the transaction took place.

October 19, 2015

How Can Exporters Benefit from the "Go-International Initiative" of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce?

Even in a challenging global economic environment, exports remain the driving force behind the Austrian economy. The go-international initiative of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce encourages companies to step across the border by offering advisory services, events and support, as well as making it easier for existing exporters to enter additional foreign markets.

October 19, 2015

Bank of China to Open Branch in Vienna

Bank of China, one of the 5 biggest state-owned commercial banks in China intends to open its first branch in Vienna in the near future, as its Chairman Tian Guoli recently said while visiting Vienna.

October 16, 2015
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