Austria country profile26 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 17 May 2012
Austria became a member of the EU on January 1, 1995. It is a Federal Republic composed of nine regions, one of which is the capital Vienna, subdivided into districts and town councils.
The Alps dominate the western and southern parts of Austria while the eastern provinces, including Vienna, the capital, lie in the Danube basin.
Until the end of World War I, Austria was for centuries the centre of a vast empire, which controlled much of central Europe. Austria is now a federal republic, consisting of nine states.
Vienna hosts a number of international organisations, including the Secretariat of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The Austrian Parliament has two chambers. The National Council, or Nationalrat, has 183 members, who are elected by direct popular vote to serve a four-year term. The Federal Council, or Bundesrat, is the upper house with about 62 members who represent each province. Its members serve a four or six-year term.
Austria has a rich cultural heritage. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart occupies a place of his own as a composer, while Franz Schubert enjoys great popularity too. In the world of philosophy and ideas, Siegmund Freud continues to provoke controversy while Ludwig Wittgenstein was one of the major influences in 20th century thinking. The paintings of Gustav Klimt are widely admired.
Austria has a mixed industrial and agricultural economy, while tourism is also an important source of income.
In cuisine, some of Austria’s specialities like Wiener Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel have become international dishes which need no translation.
Official name: Republic of Austria
Area (km2): 83 870
Population: 8.22 (July 2012 est.)
National holiday: 26 October
Currency: Euro (€)
Date of joining: 01 January 1995
Head of state: Heinz Fischer, since 2004
Head of government: Werner Faymann Since December 2008 he has presided over a coalition government of social democrats (SPÖ) and conservatives (ÖVP)
GDP (millions €): 281 867 (2008); 274 286 (forecast for 2009)
GDP per capita in PPS: € 30 900 (2008); € 29 600 (forecast for 2009)
Real growth rate of GDP: 3.3% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4.4% (June 2009)
National debt as % of GDP: 72.1% (2011 est.)
Inflation: 3.3% (2011 est.)
Public deficit/surplus as % of GDP: -3.6% (2011 est.)
Head of Government:
Head of State: