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Austrian Economic Policy News and Analysis

Social Progress Index: Austria Ranked 13th

Austria has been ranked 13th by NGO Social Progress Imperative, in its Social Progress Index ranking. It precedes Japan and Germany and scored many points thanks to renewable energy projects. However, the state reveals shortages with respect to education, tolerance and equal opportunities. Nordic states, such as Finland, Canada and Denmark lead the index.

July 25, 2016

New "Open Austria Initiative" Supposed to Open Doors to Silicon Valley

Foreign Ministry and Austrian Economic Chamber open joint office in California to support Austrian companies and pave their way for success in Silicon Valley.

July 14, 2016

OSCE: "Reliable, Affordable and Sustainable Energy Supplies are Prerequisite for Stability and Security"

Energy experts from the OSCE Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation, representing both government institutions and private sector companies, will begin a week-long field study of sustainable energy in Austria and Germany.

July 12, 2016

Western Balkans Countries Discussed Investment, Jobs and Integration in Vienna

The World Bank and the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) held a high-level policy dialogue on ‘Investment, Jobs and Integration’ last week. Ministers and senior officials from the Western Balkans region as well as policy experts from international organisations and the business community gathered to discuss the challenges the region is currently facing, in particular the high unemployment rate, low international competitiveness, and lack of modern infrastructure.

July 8, 2016

Agenda Austria Recommends Campaign Against Öxit

Think tank Agenda Austria recommends the government in Austria to devise a large campaign against an Austrian exit ("Öxit”), highlighting the benefits of EU membership, since the experts anticipate an increase in discussions concerning this issue.

June 27, 2016

Austrian Business Meets Foreign Diplomacy

In the context of the ‘Business meets Diplomacy’ series of events, representatives of the Austrian economy meet members of the foreign diplomatic corps for an exchange of views on Austrian business and the economy.

June 20, 2016

Tax Payers to Finance AvW Bankruptcy after all?

Tax payers may have to finance the bankruptcy of Carinthian financial company AvW after all, Presse daily reports in its online issue. The damage is estimated at EUR 148 million (USD 168.2 million).

June 8, 2016

IMD Competitiveness Ranking: Austria Edged Up to Rank 24

According to the latest issue of the competitiveness ranking established by Swiss research facility Instituts für Management-Entwicklung (IMD), Austria edged up from rank 26 to 24 y/y in 2015.

May 31, 2016

Bawag Laying Off Further 180 to 200 Employees

Bawag Bank will optimize its branches and in course of the process will cut 180 to 200 jobs. 70 to 80 of the affected employees are supposed to be sent back to their actual employers - Post AG.

May 3, 2016

VSE: International Investors Dominate Vienna Stock Exchange

International institutional investors are largest group of investors on the prime market of the VSE Vienna Stock Exchange. They account for some 78 percent of institutional free float of the prime market index ATX Prime stocks, according to a study.

April 12, 2016

International Women’s Day Debate: The Backlash Against Women’s Rights

Women throughout the world continue to face discrimination, are denied equal access to participation in public and political life and suffer sexual and gender-based violence and abuse in public places and at home. International Women’s Day is annually held on March 8 to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. It is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. On March 8th the IWM library organizes a panel discussion called "The Backlash Against Women’s Rights".

March 2, 2016

Austria Strengthens Synergies between Diplomatic and Business Community

Diplomacy and business go hand in hand. From now on, synergies between the representation networks of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber are to be used more efficiently.

February 26, 2016

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

Vienna Startup Welcome Package: International Startups Set Up in Vienna

Over the last few years, Vienna has become a bristling hub of activities - from education to tourism to international organizations, and finally it is transforming into an interesting place for startups. Individuals increasingly flock to Vienna to found their own companies, or to continue what they've already begun in another area of the world. The Vienna Business Agency is awarding the Vienna Startup Welcome Package 2016 by inviting international startups to explore Vienna for 3 months.

December 23, 2015

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

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

IMF Report: Austria Should Make Cuts in Healthcare, Education, Pensions, Banks Should Raise Equity

Austria's outlook suggests a moderate improvement. The latest IMF report recommends Austria to conduct broad cuts in such areas of spending as healthcare, education and pensions. Also, Austrian banks should raise equity. Unemployment, although rising, has remained moderate at below 6 percent. Strengthening private consumption, investment, and exports are expected to raise growth to about 1½ percent in 2016. The current account surplus exceeds 2 percent of GDP thanks to sustained price competitiveness and robust tourism inflows. The authorities have made significant progress in revamping the regulatory framework for the banking sector. However challenges remain and further measures need to be taken. Therefore the IMF suggests three policy priorities: expenditure reforms, integrate immigrants into the Austrian economy and further strengthen financial sector resilience.

December 14, 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

Austria was Elected to Five UNESCO Bodies

During the current General Conference of the Organization for Education, Science and Culture of the United Nations (UNESCO) Austria was elected to five steering committees. The successful candidacies prove the credibility of Austrian experts worldwide.

November 13, 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

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

InEquality: Economic Symposium at Forum Alpbach Launched

The Economic Symposium of the Forum Alpbach has been launched in the presence of business executives, politicians, students and the media. The core topic of this year's conference is InEquality.

September 2, 2015

Expat Insider: Country Report Austria - Safe & Sound

InterNations shares with you a detailed picture of life abroad in Austria: why people relocate, what their daily life is like, and how satisfied they are. Known for schnitzels, mountains, and bodybuilders turned governors, Austria has excellent rankings in the Quality of Life, Working Abroad, and Family Life Indices, but settling in isn't easy. They provide an in-depth country profile of Austria. Read on and find out what expatriate life in your dream destination Austria is actually like.

August 25, 2015

Low Interest Rates are Costing Every Austrian 2,366 Euro

Due to the ongoing low interest rate environment, Austrian savers had to forego around EUR 35.5 billion in interest income over the past five years (2010-2014). On average this amounts to approx. 4,156 euro per capita. Of this, interest earned on deposits alone on average amounted to EUR 24 billion less than in the years 2005 – 2009. Anyone who invested his money in residential real estate has reason to be pleased, as prices have risen by more than a third since 2009. On stock exchanges significantly larger gains could be achieved as well, but only 3.3% of Austrians are directly invested in equities.

July 21, 2015

European Forum Wachau: Political Leaders Discuss Europe's Limits

The European Forum Wachau is a European debate event and will be held this weekend at the Stift Göttweig in Lower Austria. The event was launched in 1995, the year of Austria's accession to the European Union. Participants of the conference titled “Has Europe reached its limits? Reflections on Europe’s future role on the global stage” will discuss topics such as, the EU as a security provider, the EU's new mode of regional cooperation and the EU and her neighbours.

June 12, 2015

The Bilderberg Group - Background and Criticism

The first Bilderberg conference dates back to May 1954, when it was held at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands. Partly because of its working methods to ensure strict privacy, the Bilderberg Group has been criticised for its lack of transparency and accountability.

June 11, 2015

Bilderberg 2015: The "World Government" Meets in Austria

A select group of global elite is gathering today at the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol in Telfs-Buchen, Austria. The 63rd Bilderberg conference is a super secret annual conference where they can discuss politics, economics and foreign policy freely. A total of around 140 participants from 22 countries have confirmed their attendance at the Bilderberg conference 2015. As ever, a diverse group of political leaders and experts from industry and finance have been invited. This year the list includes nine Austrians. Key talking points on the agenda include the Ukrainian crisis, Greece, Middle East and Terrorism (see detailed list below). Security is tight - participants as well as protesters and journalists will have to deal with the Austrian anti terror squad "Cobra". After 1979 it's the second time that the conference takes place in Austria.

June 11, 2015 · Updated: June 11, 2015; 19:00

Germanwings Flight 9525: Captain Tried to Break into Cockpit with Axe, Co-Pilot Hid Illness

The latest reports prove that German Wings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending. German police have been searching the home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz and his parents. They found a ripped-up sick note showing that he tried to hide his illness from employer German Wings.

March 27, 2015

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug to Visit Vienna

The Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, Alexander Hug, will visit Vienna, Austria, on 5-6 March.

March 5, 2015

Global Peace Index: Austria is Third Most Peaceful Country

The latest Global Peace Index analyses the state of peace around the world. It identifies the most and least peaceful countries, trends in violence and conflict, and calculates the economic impact of violence. The top three most peaceful countries are Iceland, Denmark and Austria. Small and stable democracies make up the top ten most peaceful countries. New Zealand, Canada and Japan are the only non-European countries in the top ten.

March 4, 2015

Finance Ministry: "Fitch Downgrade has no Impact on Austria Rating"

In response to the rating announcement by rating agency Fitch, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance says, that the current Fitch rating has no impact on the Austria rating due to temporary debt increase.

February 20, 2015

Austrian Government Guarantees Stand at EUR 112.9 bn

Newly collected data by Statistics Austria on State guarantees (governmental contingent liabilities, potential obligations and assets) show guarantees of €112.9 bn at the end of 2013 (of which 52% are granted by the state and local government sectors).

February 10, 2015

Japanese Mizuho Bank Sets Up Office in Vienna

Mizuho Bank through its Dutch subsidiary has acquired the approval to open a branch in Vienna. The bank is looking to develop its business in CEE. Simultaneously the Bank signed a memorandum of understanding with the Austrian Business Agency for services in connection with the setup.

January 28, 2015

Holocaust Memorial Day: "European Jews again feeling anxious and uncertain about their future"

As people across the OSCE region commemorated the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, officials highlighted the importance for societies to stand firmly against the contemporary challenges of anti-Semitism, racism and other forms of intolerance.

January 28, 2015

Vienna as a Business Location - The City at a Glance

Vienna combines tradition, culture and quality of life with the factors of a top business location in a unique way. A stable political and economic environment, a research and technology-friendly climate, geographical and cultural proximity to the growth markets in the east and, not least, the highest quality of life in the world provide for a place at the very top of the world’s rankings.

January 27, 2015

Does Abdullah's Death Improve Interreligious Dialogue?

Saudi King Abdullah is dead. Continuity is assured as Crown Prince Salman succeeds brother to the throne. Saudi Arabia is repeatedly being criticised for human rights violations. The case of internet activist Badawi caused in Vienna calls for the closure of the late King Abdullah Center for Interreligious Dialogue.

January 23, 2015

Celebrating 200 Years of the Congress of Vienna

Europe was reorganized at the Congress of Vienna exactly 200 years ago. Numerous princes, kings and two emperors gathered by the Danube for the negotiations. Two exiting exhibitions now provide insights into the events of 1814/15.

January 23, 2015

OSCE Permanent Council Prepares for Upcoming International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust remembrance was the focus of today's meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council at Vienna's Hofburg in light of the upcoming International Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January).

January 22, 2015

Vienna as a Business Location - Areas of Strength

Vienna combines tradition, culture and quality of life with the factors of a top business location in a unique way. A stable political and economic environment, a research and technology-friendly climate, geographical and cultural proximity to the growth markets in the east and, not least, the highest quality of life in the world provide for a place at the very top of the world’s rankings.

January 22, 2015

ECB Unleashes Quantitative Easing - How does it work?

Today, the ECB finally commenced on a large scale sovereign bond-buying programme. The €60bn monthly asset purchases include covered bonds and asset backed securities. Due to the flood of cheap money, the DAX was boosted. The index increased by up to one per cent to a record high of 10,399.67 points. Quantitative easing is a monetary policy where a central bank creates new money electronically to buy financial assets. The aim is to stimulate an economy when standard monetary policy has become ineffective. How does it work?

January 22, 2015

Bandion Ortner Resigns from her Post at the Abdullah Center

It was the domestic political bombshell of the weekend: Ex-ÖVP Justice Minister Claudia Bandion-Ortner announced her withdrawal as the executive vice president of the controversial Abdullah Center in Vienna.

January 19, 2015

Austria has EU-Wide Most Franc Loans

In absolute terms, Austria has the most franc foreign currency loans in the European Union.

January 19, 2015

Ivica Dačić in Vienna: Serbia Takes Over OSCE Chairmanship from Switzerland

The new OSCE Chairperson, Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, spoke today at the inaugural Permanent Council meeting of Serbia's OSCE Chairmanship Vienna. He revealed his Chairmanship priorities pledging to rebuild trust and confidence in the OSCE region of 57 participating states.

January 15, 2015

State Holding ÖIAG to be Renamed ÖBIB

Austrian state holding ÖIAG is going to be turned into a limited liability company (GesmbH) called "ÖBIB" Österreichische Bundes- und Industriebeteiligungsholding, which will be permitted to make new acquisitions and which will report directly to the Finance Ministry.

January 13, 2015

Carl Bildt: "The cohesion of the EU is the most important objective to achieve"

How Europe should react to the surrounding areas of conflict in East and South, was debated on Sunday. More realism, less idealism for the European Union is what Ivan Krastev, Fyodor Lukyanov, Carl Bildt and Ana Palacio concluded on Sunday at the Burgtheater in Vienna.

January 12, 2015

Klaus Iohannis - Who is the New President of Romania?

On November 16th, Klaus Iohannis was elected the fifth President of Romania. He is due to take office on 22 December. His presidential campaign focused on fighting corruption and on improving the justice system. Klaus Werner Iohannis is a Romanian politician, born 13 June 1959. He was elected the fifth President of Romania on 16 November 2014 (age 55). He became leader of the National Liberal Party in 2014, after having served as leader of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania from 2002 to 2013.

November 17, 2014

World Leaders Met in Vienna to Adopt 10 Year Action-Plan for Landlocked Developing Countries

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a 10 year action-plan aimed at accelerating sustainable development in the world’s 32 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs). A Business and Investment Forum was organized as an integral part of the 2nd United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries with the aim of exchanging views on the challenges and opportunities faced by LLDCs and to discuss possible partnerships and strategies in regards to the role of the private sector in the overall sustainable development of LLDCs. Also, Conchita Wurst performed live at the UN in Vienna for tolerance and mutual respect.

November 7, 2014

UN's Lakshmi Puri on Enhancing Women's Share in Peace and Security: "This is a historic moment!"

At the Austrian Parliament a high-level panel of international politicians and prominent activists have discussed significant achievements and major obstacles in the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda. The speakers included Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury, Ursula Plassnik, former Austrian Foreign Minister, Lakshmi Puri, the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, May Chidiac of the Chidiac Foundation and Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee Member.

November 4, 2014

How to Set-up a Limited Liability Company (GmbH) in Austria

There are a number of important considerations for investors when deciding on how to enter the Austrian market or when establishing a business in Austria. Investors will generally need to choose between establishing a new company, registering as a foreign company or acquiring an existing company. If establishing a new business, a variety of business structures are available, each with their own regulatory and tax considerations. Businesses may also need to establish their identity through a trade mark, online and/or physical presence. Vindobona will provide a series of articles to allow investors to make the choices most appropriate to the nature of their business.

November 3, 2014

How to Set-up a Partnership (OG) or Limited Partnership Company (KG) in Austria

There are a number of important considerations for investors when deciding on how to enter the Austrian market or when establishing a business in Austria. Investors will generally need to choose between establishing a new company, registering as a foreign company or acquiring an existing company. If establishing a new business, a variety of business structures are available, each with their own regulatory and tax considerations. Businesses may also need to establish their identity through a trade mark, online and/or physical presence. Vindobona will provide a series of articles to allow investors to make the choices most appropriate to the nature of their business.

October 27, 2014