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Austrian Economic Legal Issues and Insolvencies

Extradition of Oligarch Firtash to United States Remains "Suspended"

Although Austria has already agreed to the extradition of Dmytro Firtash, the latter may remain in Austria, as the resumption application submitted by his lawyers has a suspensive effect. During the meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Vadym Prystaiko, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg was confronted with the question of the state of affairs regarding Dmytro Firtash.

November 14, 2019

Investing in Austria: New Provisions for the Screening of Foreign Direct Investments

The Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs recently published a consultation draft for amendments to those provisions. The new regulation is supposed to create more transparency and certainty around FDIs in Austria.

September 19, 2019

Lower Austria as a Business Location Presents Itself at the Alpbach Business Talks

Also this year Lower Austria presented itself at the economic talks of the Forum Alpbach as an innovative business location through its business agency ecoplus and as an outstanding culinary region through the initiative "Thus tastes Lower Austria".

August 29, 2019

New Meinl Bank to Pay 36 Million Euro to Damaged European Land Investors

The legal successor to Meinl-Bank, AAB Anglo Austrian Bank AG, will pay around EUR 36 million to settle the claims of the remaining investor proceedings of approx. 4,000 investors of the former MEL Meinl European Land. Simultaneously, AAB starts a repositioning in which the credit business and the payment transactions are to be reduced, while the advisory business and investment banking are to be focused on.

August 27, 2019

More EU Infringement Procedures Against Austria

Austria is confronted with an above-average number of infringement proceedings by the European Commission. These include not only proceedings concerning the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment, but also failures in the areas of public procurement, financial market regulation and the fight against tax fraud. Now the EC has also opened an infringement procedure concerning the indexation of family allowances.

July 31, 2019

Uber Austria: Suspension in Vienna Over

The ride-sharing service Uber has terminated its suspension in Vienna imposed by the Commercial Court of Vienna and is continuing to operate. As requested, Uber now has a local subsidiary in Austria. With the forthcoming change to uniform rates for taxis and rental cars, the next challenge is already ahead.

July 31, 2019

Devastating - Austria is Only the 21st Most Innovative Country in the World

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) named Austria's neighbor Switzerland as the world’s most innovative country, during the launch of its latest Global Innovation Index. Austria isn't even in the top 20. Biggest issues are the stagnation of public expenditure on research and development and the increase of economic protectionism.

July 26, 2019

Uber Suspends all Services in Austria Temporarily

Uber Technologies, the driving service provider, is temporarily discontinuing all services in Austria. The reason for this is a temporary order issued by the Commercial Court of Vienna. Accordingly, Uber Technologies requires a subsidiary and a trade licence in order to offer its services.

July 25, 2019

Improvements in the Incorporation of an Austrian Private Limited Company

The incorporation of an Austrian Private Limited Company (GmbH) by foreigners is a multi-stage and time-consuming act. Since the beginning of the year, there has been a significant simplification, so that the founders or proprietors no longer have to appear personally before the notary.

July 24, 2019

Total Ban on Glyphosate in Austria Adopted

Austria is the first country in the European Union to ban the use of the controversial weedkiller glyphosate. The ban is legally controversial and could contradict EU law.

July 4, 2019

Meinl Bank Rebranding - Anglo Austrian Bank Launches with Negative Result of EUR 4.5 Mio

As part of a rebranding, Meinl Bank of Julius Meinl V (59) has renamed itself Anglo Austrian Bank and is relaunching its operations in Vienna with 49 employees in order to respond to the increased demand for qualified asset management in the countries of the former Danube Monarchy and to provide clients with a bridge to the countries and financial markets of Western Europe.

June 28, 2019

Massive Slump in Austrian Exports to Iran

Trade between Iran and Austria is shrinking. Austrian exports to Iran fell by 11.1 % in 2018, as the Foreign Trade Centre Tehran of the Chamber of Commerce reported. In addition, a further decline is expected after the negative GDP growth in 2018/2019. In addition, there are fears of a further currency decline of the rial and rising inflation.

June 24, 2019

German Road Toll Discriminates Against Foreigners - ECJ

The German car toll violates EU law. This was decided by the European Court of Justice in a ruling. This levy is discriminatory, since its economic burden lies practically exclusively on the owners and drivers of vehicles registered in other member states. In Austria, the ruling is received with great pleasure, as the country has won the case through its infringement proceedings.

June 18, 2019

WeWork Cooperation to Facilitate Internationalization of Austrian Start-ups in the USA

The aim of the cooperation between shared workspace provider WeWork and AWS - Austria Wirtschaftsservice is to support innovative Austrian start-ups in their internationalisation in New York and on the US market.

April 26, 2019

Forty Tax Offices Become One Tax Office Austria

The structures will be flattened and work processes made more efficient in such a way that 40 authorities will become a single authority with 33 departments at the 79 existing facilities.

April 10, 2019

Organized International Cum-Ex Tax Fraud in Austria - 183 Million Euros Damage

In connection with dividend stripping, the tax fraud model "Cum-Ex" was created, which deliberately allows the multiple refund of capital gains tax paid only once. According to a report in today's Ö1-Morgenjournal, presumably mainly Arab investors, in cooperation with domestic financial advisors and banks, caused Austrian taxpayers a loss of 183 million euros.

April 9, 2019

Vienna Stock Exchange: High Dependence on UK Traders

In 2018, around 60% of the equity turnover on the Vienna Stock Exchange came from UK trading participants. Hence equity turnover declined by 16.3% compared to the previous year. The most active stocks were Erste Group, OMV and Voestalpine. The SME segment "direct market plus" started with 8 companies, including 4 new listings.

April 3, 2019

Austria to Become Most Sustainable Tourism Destination in the World

Sustainability Minister Elisabeth Köstinger presented the "Plan T - Master Plan for Tourism" in Salzburg. This strategy paper is intended to ensure that Austria not only remains one of the leading tourist destinations, but that this position is further strengthened. For the first time sustainability is anchored as a basic principle for tourism. The strategic realignment of Österreich Werbung (ANTO Austrian National Tourist Office) is also on the agenda.

March 26, 2019

Vienna International Airport Permitted to Build Third Runway

The Austrian Administrative Court has rejected objections from citizens' initiatives and residents and confirmed the authorization for the construction of the third runway at Vienna Schwechat Airport.

March 21, 2019

Vienna in Airport Ranking only in Midfield

According to a comparative study entitled "Airport Worldwide Rankings 2018" with 141 airports surveyed worldwide, Vienna International Airport occupies only 49th place.

March 5, 2019

What Does No-Deal Brexit Really Mean for British-Austrian Travel Behaviour?

As of March 29, 2019 at 11.00 p.m. (UTC Universal Time Coordinated) or March 30, 2019 at 00:00 (CET Central European Time) the United Kingdom is no longer an EU member and is to be treated as such by Austria. In order to close the legal gaps in the course of a disorderly Brexit, a comprehensive law is in preparation. This law will be subject to numerous amendments in several Austrian ministries. The main areas affected are civil rights (in particular right of residence, social security), transport and customs. In following we look at the effects of the No-Deal-Brexit on travel behaviour.

February 13, 2019

Israel and Austria Sign Agreement on Continued Business Cooperation

On the sidelines of the state visit to Israel and the Austrian-Israeli Business Forum at the Hotel Intercontinental in Tel Aviv, the Economy ministers from Israel and Austria signed an agreement to accelerate business and entrepreneurial cooperation.

February 6, 2019

Vienna Stock Exchange - New Start for the Third Market with 8 SME Quotations

As already announced by Vindobona.org in conjunction with the corresponding amendment to the Austrian Stock Corporation Act (Aktiengesetz), the VSE Vienna Stock Exchange is now offering two additional and easier options (direct market, direct market plus) for an initial public offering for SMEs as part of the new Third Market.

January 20, 2019

Reform of the Red-White-Red Card - Important Step Against Lack of Skilled Personnel

The Austrian National Council passes a resolution on the reform of the Red-White-Red-Card including the regionalisation of the list of lacking occupations with the aim to strengthen Austria as a business location.

December 19, 2018

The New Location Development Act - Significance for Austria's Attractiveness as a Business Location

The Austrian government has passed the highly controversial Location Development Act in the Council of Ministers, which will speed up environmental impact assessments, be passed by the National Council this year and come into force on 1 January 2019. The new legislation will introduce automatic permits for certain energy infrastructure projects (eg, electricity grids and power plants). Positive reactions are coming from industry and politics. Various environmental associations criticise the new law.

November 22, 2018

Naturalizations in Austria in 2018 on the Rise

Austrian citizenship was granted to a total of 6,971 persons in the first three quarters of 2018. The Bosnians are ahead, followed by Turks, Serbs and Kosovars. In total, there were 115 more naturalisations than in the same period of the previous year (+1.7%).

November 15, 2018

Austria Strengthening Venture Capital Structures with Seoul and Shanghai

Margarete Schramböck, Austrian Federal Minister for Digitisation and Business, visited Seoul, the capital of South Korea and China's greater Shanghai metropolitan area, together with a high-ranking delegation of experts from the fields of digitisation, science and business, with the aim of strengthening Austria as a location for innovation.

November 9, 2018

Austria in E-Government ahead of Germany and Switzerland

Margarete Schramböck is on the right course. According to a recent study on the e-government situation in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Austria clearly holds the top position in the e-government country comparison.

November 7, 2018

Austria Continues to Deteriorate in World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index 2019

The Ease of Doing Business Rankings provide measures of business regulations for local firms in 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational level. In 2019 Austria falls from 22nd to 26th place worldwide. Germany also loses ground, but remains one notch ahead of Austria. New Zealand leads the ranking for the third time in a row. The Kiwis replaced Singapore three years ago, which had previously held the top position for 10 years. In the 2019 Ease of doing business index, the following countries rank 3rd to 10th: Denmark, Hong Kong, South Korea, Georgia, Norway, United States, United Kingdom and Macedonia.

November 1, 2018

Growth of Foreign Controlled Enterprises in Austria

Statistics Austria reports a slight increase in the number of foreign-controlled companies in Austria. As at 31.12.2016 there were around 10,800 companies in Austria that are part of a foreign group. In comparison, the number of foreign subsidiaries of Austrian companies remained constant.

October 31, 2018

Ambassador Traina on Trade-War: "Donald Trump is Europe's Greatest Hope"

In an interview with the trend-magazine the US ambassador in Vienna, Trevor Traina, warns of the Chinese, and that the theft of intellectual property could also happen to Europe's key industries. Donald Trump's unpredictability is therefore "Europe's greatest hope" to avert such a scenario in time.

October 19, 2018

Facilitated Stock Exchange Access for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises at the VSE

As a result of an amendment to the Austrian Stock Corporation Act (Aktiengesetz), as of 21 January 2019 it will again be possible for small and medium-sized enterprises and growth companies registered in Austria in the legal form of a stock corporation (AG) with small free float to gain access to the Vienna Stock Exchange via the newly created market segments "direct market plus" and "direct market".

October 19, 2018

Kazakhstan and Austria Reinforce Reciprocal Extradition and Legal Assistance

During a visit to Vienna, Kazakh Attorney General Kairat Kozhamzharov was received by Josef Moser, Federal Minister for Reforms and Justice. A joint declaration was signed. The talks focused on Kazakhstan's multilateral efforts, current affairs, mutual extradition and mutual legal assistance with Kazakhstan.

October 19, 2018

Austrian State and Industrial Holding will be Reorganized Again

The holding company of the Austrian federal shareholdings (ÖBIB) is to be restructured and given a new boss. The existing structures created by the red-black predecessor government will soon be history again. The law for a new holding company of the Republic is to be examined in the next few days. Its boss is to be Thomas Schmid, general secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance.

October 3, 2018

US Termination of the Iran Agreement: Major Effects on Austrian Exports Expected

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber fears that the Trump decision will have a massive negative impact on the Iran business of Austrian companies. It will probably be extraordinarily difficult in the future to establish the necessary payment channels for legitimate transactions.

May 17, 2018

Iran-Deal Withdrawal: Consequences for Iran-Austrian Economics Relations

About 50 Austrian companies have branches in Iran. Austrian exports to Iran rose by 9.2 percent to 301 million euros in 2017; imports increased by 18.5 percent to 119 million euros. A JCPOA supported only by the EU, Russia, China and Iran is not sufficient in the medium and long term to create the necessary investments and renewals in Iran. Without the US on board, international banks and large companies will continue to shy away from activities in Iran. Secondary sanctions will contribute to this.

May 11, 2018

Trump's Iran Deal Withdrawal Increases Uncertainty for Austrian Companies

Austrian companies react in a wait-and-see manner. The withdrawal of the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran means in practice that the suspension of sanctions will no longer be extended. Considerations range from an immediate halt to activities in Iran to the longest possible active participation within the new sanctions framework. It is unlikely that Austria's exports will reach the 300 million euro mark of the previous year.

May 11, 2018

Austrian Financial Market Authority Is Pleased With Whistle-Blowing System

In 2017 whistleblowers made 158 tip-offs regarding misconduct in the Austrian financial market. The FMA has been operating a special IT-based whistleblowing system since 1 February 2014 that allows the anonymous receipt of confidential information about possible instances of malpractice in supervised entities. FMA Executive Board: “Our whistle-blowing system is an important source of information for the FMA.”

April 20, 2018

Austria's Capital Market for SMEs on the Brink of a Renaissance

Finance Minister Hartwig Löger plans to revive the Austrian capital market for SMEs by making trading of bearer shares of Austrian companies on the Third Market possible again.

April 11, 2018

New Double Taxation Agreement Between Israel and Austria

After almost 50 years, a new double taxation agreement (DTA) for income and capital taxes was signed between Israel and Austria, which includes substantial tax relief.

April 10, 2018

Money Laundering: RBI Is Fined EUR 2.7 Million

The Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) has imposed the highest fine ever imposed by the FMA, i.e. a fine of EUR 2.748 million against Raiffeisen Bank International AG.

April 1, 2018

Austria's Double Budget 2018/2019 - Cautious Optimism

Finance Minister Hartwig Löger (ÖVP) presented his first budget. Austria's new federal government wants to earn more than it spends. The double budget for 2018 and 2019 should herald a new era. The Austrian state has been spending more than it takes for 65 years and this is to be reversed for the first time in 2019. Debt policy is to be ended. A budget surplus of 541 million euros is to be achieved and thus a turning point in budget policy. Most money should be spent on pensions, least on health.

March 22, 2018

Austrian Attaché at Tel Aviv Embassy Poses in T-Shirt of Right-Wing Identitarians

Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl has recalled Jürgen-Michael Kleppich, Attaché at the Austrian Embassy in Tel Aviv. The reason for this are media reports that shortly after Kleppich moved to Israel in January 2018, he posted a picture of himself in a T-shirt from the shop of right-wing extremist Identitarian Movement on Facebook.

March 22, 2018

How do Russian Politicians and Oligarchs Withdraw their Money from Austria?

The Russian money nobility has begun to repatriate large amounts of its western-hoarded money back to Russia in order to deprive it of access by Western authorities. The countries of origin are above all Switzerland, but also Austria and Great Britain. Sberbank, Russia's largest and state-owned bank, speaks of an atypically high capital inflow to Russia. Within a few weeks, a tripling of such repatriation transactions took place compared to the same period of the previous year. The sum is hundreds of millions of dollars. The average transfer amount has increased within a year by 50% to 3 million dollars. This meets with the Kremlin's desire to repatriate Russian assets.

February 22, 2018

Presidential Poll Result Overturned by Austrian Constitutional Court

Austria's highest court has annulled the result of the presidential election narrowly lost by the candidate of the far-right Freedom Party Norbert Hofer.

July 1, 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

Activ Solar Files for Reorganisation in Austria, Debts Reach EUR 500 Million

Vienna-based Activ Solar GmbH announced that it is bankrupt and that it has filed for reorganization in Austria due to its investment exposure in Ukraine. The company has amassed debts to the tune of EUR 500 million.

February 10, 2016

International Organizations Criticize Austria for Restricting the Press Uncover Cases of Grievance

Courts should take public interest into account in cases against journalists, say representatives of OSCE and Austrian Forum Informationsfreiheit, following Dossier trespassing case in the province of Burgenland.

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

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
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