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Austrian Economic Policy News and Analysis

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

How to Set-up a Sole Proprietorship Company 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 20, 2014

Lower Austria's Ecoplus International Celebrates 10 Years and 1500 Executed Projects

The EU's eastward enlargement brought Lower Austria into the center of a new, dynamic economic area. In order to make use of the chances which emerged for the lower Austrian economy, Ecoplus International GmbH in cooperation with the Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederösterreich-Wien was set up. 10 years later the subsidiary has already overseen 1500 projects.

October 16, 2014

Indian Embassy in Vienna Launches ‘Make in India’ Campaign

India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Make in India’ campaign, aimed at reviving the job-creating manufacturing sector. India's Mission in Vienna will be organizing a business event focusing on “Make in India” on 9th November at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, followed by events in other provinces. The campaign includes invitations to Austria’s top companies to explore investment possibilities in India.

October 7, 2014

Update: Enquiry into TTIP and CETA Agreements

Details about the negotiation progress at Austria’s National Assembly have meanwhile been released. The Transatlantic Agreement CETA with Canada and the TTIP agreement with the USA have been cause for disagreements. The assembly has adopted a motion for resolution of the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) and Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) concerning the transatlantic economic agreements with Canada (CETA) and the USA (TTIP). The motion calls for transparency of negotiations and ratification of the agreements by national parliaments.

September 25, 2014

Ederer Elected as Supervisory Board President of ÖBB Austrian Railways

A few days after her resignation from the ÖIAG Supervisory Board the former Siemens manager Brigitte Ederer was elected unanimously to the top of the ÖBB Supervisory Board.

September 11, 2014

Investment Opportunities: Moscow - Viennese Economic Talks in Vienna

Within the framework of the "Moscow Days in Vienna", an Economic Forum on economic, investment and technological cooperation "Moscow - Vienna 2014 Synergy - New Opportunities for Growth" was held in the Chamber of Commerce of Vienna.

September 11, 2014

Austrian Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger Quits

Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger resigned today after eight months in office, the reason are differences within the People's Party (ÖVP) on debt reform and tax. He also stepped down as vice chancellor and head of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), the center-right junior partner of the grand coalition government.

August 26, 2014

The United Nations Celebrate 35 Years in Vienna

The United Nations moved into the VIC Vienna International Centre 35 years ago. The VIC was officially opened on 23 August 1979 when it was handed over to the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Commonly known locally as 'UNO City', it has been rented to the organizations for 99 years at a symbolic rate of 1 Austrian schilling (7 euro cents) annually.

August 11, 2014

Event: 21st Austria & Advantage Austria: Re-Think Central and Eastern Europe - An Austrian Perspective

On September 23, 2014, 21st Austria and Advantage Austria UK will host a panel discussion at the City of London's Gherkin skyscraper. Herbert Stepic, former CEO of RBI Raiffeisen Bank International and Georg Karabaczek, Austrian Trade Commissioner for the UK will focuse on the topic "Re-Think Central and Eastern Europe: An Austrian Perspective on Diversity in Performance, Challenges and Avenues of Growth". Panellists also include Pasquale Diana, Mario Holzner and Eduard Zehetner.

August 1, 2014

Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer Signs Hypo Special Act into Law

After intensive testing, together with the former President of the Constitutional Court and current adviser to the President, Prof. Dr. Ludwig Adamovich, Federal President Heinz Fischer has decided to carry out the notarization of the adopted bill and thus clear the way for review by the Constitutional Court.

July 31, 2014

Analysis: Russia - Assessment of EU and Tightened US Sanctions

Special analysis covering the most recent escalation in terms of Western economic and financial sanctions against Russia: EU and US sending bold diplomatic signals without inflicting too much near-term economic and financial damage. In comparison to the US sanctions by the EU are capped in duration. Recent escalation adds to uncertainty in doing business with Russia, which is an ultimate goal of sanctions. Near-term impact of current sanctions still limited, which implies a risk that they may remain for longer.

July 31, 2014

FDI in Austria up by EUR 25 Million

In the first half of 2014 the number of international companies setting up business operations in Austria with the assistance of ABA in cooperation with the regional investment promotion agencies climbed from 88 to 114. Total investment volume was up 15.9 % in the first half of 2014 to EUR 179.97 million from EUR 154.33 million in the prior year period.

July 11, 2014

Siegfried Wolf New OIAG Supervisory Board Chairman

OIAG's supervisory board has appointed Siegfried Wolf as the new Chairman of the supervisory board.

June 27, 2014

Albania Receives EU Candidate Status

At the General Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg, Ministers from the EU Member States have agreed – based on the recommendation by the European Commission to grant EU candidate status to Albania, subject to endorsement by EU heads of states at the forthcoming European Council on Friday in Brussels.

June 26, 2014

Analysis: The South Stream Gas Pipeline

Due to the signing of the South Stream agreement between OMV and Gazprom for the Austrian part of the pipeline during Putin's visit to Vienna, we take a look at the background of the project.

June 25, 2014

EBRD Provides €20 Mio Loan to Slovakia for Sustainable Energy Projects

The EBRD is deepening its support for sustainable energy investments in the Slovak Republic with a €20m loan to Slovenska Sporitelna, a.s. (SLSP), one of the country’s leading banks. The funds will be on-lent to private companies for renewable energy projects and energy efficiency in industry and buildings.

June 16, 2014

EBRD Committed to Moldova as the Country Moves Towards Greater Regional Integration

“The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) stands ready to support Moldovan companies and foreign investors in Moldova as the country moves towards even greater regional integration,” said András Simor, EBRD Vice President for Policy, during his visit to Chisinau.

June 14, 2014

Hanna Kordik Awarded the Prize for Outstanding Economic Journalism

Hanna Kordik was awarded the prestigious Horst Knapp Prize in a ceremony. The eulogy was delivered by Ewald Nowotny, Governor of Oesterreichische Nationalbank, in his capacity as chairman of an independent jury. The speaker at the award ceremony was the industrialist Hannes Androsch.

June 10, 2014

Vienna: Former Kazakh Ambassador to Austria has been Arrested

Rakhat Aliyev, ex-son-in-law of Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, has been arrested in Vienna. Aliyev, who has been convicted in absentia in Kazakhstan on charges ranging from kidnapping and embezzlement to plotting a coup against Nazarbayev, has been detained because of a murder investigation against him, which has been opened in 2011.

June 7, 2014

Austria's Foreign Policy on the Western Balkans

Due to centuries of political, cultural and economic interrelations, Austrian foreign policy has always attached particular importance to the Balkans. The prime goal of Austrian foreign policy is to support the transformation of the Western Balkans into a zone of stability.

June 4, 2014

The Challenge of Turkish Migration to Austria

Two events highlight and discuss the problems and challenges of Turkish migration to Austria.

June 4, 2014

Foreign Ministry: "Freedom of Religion in Austria"

The first meeting of the Interreligious Dialogue Platform at the Austrian Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs took place. Integration Minister launches an initiative for dialogue with recognised churches and religious communities in Austria.

June 3, 2014

TTIP-Myths and Realities According to AmCham Austria

The American Chamber of Commerce in Austria (AmCham Austria) promotes the expansion and strengthening of trade and commerce relations between Austria and the US. Talks on a future EU-US trade deal started in July 2013 and are set to continue throughout 2014. The talks are part of a trade and investment deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP.

June 3, 2014