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Once the centre of power for the large Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria was reduced to a small republic after its defeat in World War I. Following annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938 and subsequent occupation by the victorious Allies in 1945, Austria’s status remained unclear for a decade. A State Treaty signed in 1955 ended the occupation, recognized Austria’s independence, and forbade unification with Germany. A constitutional law that same year declared the country’s “perpetual neutrality” as a condition for Soviet military withdrawal. The Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 and Austria’s entry into the European Union in 1995 have altered the meaning of this neutrality. A prosperous, democratic country, Austria entered the EU Economic and Monetary Union in 1999.
15-64 years: 67.7% (male 2,793,725/female 2,769,840)
65 years and over: 18.2% (male 627,456/female 872,104) (2011 est.)
conventional short form: Austria
local long form: Republik Oesterreich
local short form: Oesterreich
geographic coordinates: 48 12 N, 16 22 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
domestic: fixed-line subscribership has been in decline since the mid-1990s with mobile-cellular subscribership elapsing it by the late 1990s; the fiber-optic net is very extensive; all telephone applications and Internet services are available
international: country code – 43; satellite earth stations – 15; in addition, there are about 600 VSATs (very small aperture terminals) (2007)
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 13 (2012)
Austria, with its well-developed market economy and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany’s. The Austrian economy also benefits greatly from strong commercial relations, especially in the banking and insurance sectors, with central, eastern, and south-eastern Europe. The economy features a large service sector, a sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector.
Membership in the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria’s access to the single European market and proximity to the new EU economies. The outgoing government has successfully pursued a comprehensive economic reform program, aimed at streamlining government and creating a more competitive business environment, further strengthening Austria’s attractiveness as an investment location.
It has implemented effective pension reforms; however, lower taxes in 2005-06 led to a small budget deficit in 2006 and 2007. Boosted by strong exports, growth nevertheless reached 3.3% in both 2006 and 2007, although the economy may slow in 2008 because of the strong euro, high oil prices, and problems in international financial markets. To meet increased competition – especially from new EU members and Central European countries – Austria will need to continue restructuring, emphasizing knowledge-based sectors of the economy, and encouraging greater labour flexibility and greater labour participation by its aging population.
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