Geographic and Governmental Profile of Austria

Background
Once the center 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.
Location
Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia
Geographic coordinates
47 20 N, 13 20 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Europe
Area
total:
83,871 sq km
rank:
114
land:
82,445 sq km
water:
1,426 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Maine
Land boundaries
total:
2,562 km
border countries:
Czech Republic 362 km, Germany 784 km, Hungary 366 km, Italy 430 km, Liechtenstein 35 km, Slovakia 91 km, Slovenia 330 km, Switzerland 164 km
Coastline
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims
none (landlocked)
Climate
temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain and some snow in lowlands and snow in mountains; moderate summers with occasional showers
Terrain
in the west and south mostly mountains (Alps); along the eastern and northern margins mostly flat or gently sloping
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Neusiedler See 115 m
highest point:
Grossglockner 3,798 m
Natural resources
oil, coal, lignite, timber, iron ore, copper, zinc, antimony, magnesite, tungsten, graphite, salt, hydropower
Land use
arable land:
16.59%
permanent crops:
0.85%
other:
82.56% (2005)
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Irrigated land
1,170 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
84 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
3.67 cu km/yr (35%/64%/1%)
per capita:
448 cu m/yr (1999)
Natural hazards
landslides; avalanches; earthquakes
Environment - current issues
some forest degradation caused by air and soil pollution; soil pollution results from the use of agricultural chemicals; air pollution results from emissions by coal- and oil-fired power stations and industrial plants and from trucks transiting Austria between northern and southern Europe
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
landlocked; strategic location at the crossroads of central Europe with many easily traversable Alpine passes and valleys; major river is the Danube; population is concentrated on eastern lowlands because of steep slopes, poor soils, and low temperatures elsewhere
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Austria
conventional short form:
Austria
local long form:
Republik Oesterreich
local short form:
Oesterreich
Government type
federal republic
Capital
name:
Vienna
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
Administrative divisions
9 states (Bundeslaender, singular - Bundesland); Burgenland, Karnten (Carinthia), Niederosterreich (Lower Austria), Oberosterreich (Upper Austria), Salzburg, Steiermark (Styria), Tirol (Tyrol), Vorarlberg, Wien (Vienna)
Independence
12 November 1918 (republic proclaimed); notable earlier dates: 976 (Margravate of Austria established); 17 September 1156 (Duchy of Austria founded); 11 August 1804 (Austrian Empire proclaimed)
National holiday
National Day, 26 October (1955); note - commemorates the passage of the law on permanent neutrality
Constitution
1 October 1920; revised 1929; reinstated 1 May 1945; revised many times; note - during the period 1 May 1934-1 May 1945 there was a fascist (corporative) constitution in place
Legal system
civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts by the Constitutional Court
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
16 years of age; universal; note - reduced from 18 years of age in 2007
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Heinz FISCHER (SPOe) (since 8 July 2004)
head of government:
Chancellor Werner FAYMANN (SPOe) (since 2 December 2008); Vice Chancellor Michael SPINDELEGGER (OeVP) (since 21 April 2011)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
elections:
president elected for a six-year term (eligible for a second term) by direct popular vote and formally sworn into office before the Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung; presidential election last held on 25 April 2010 (next to be held on 25 April 2016); chancellor formally chosen by the president but determined by the coalition parties forming a parliamentary majority; vice chancellor chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
election results:
Heinz FISCHER reelected president; percent of vote - Heinz FISCHER 79.33%, Barbara ROSENKRANZ 15.24%, Rudolf GEHRING 5.43%
government coalition - SPOe and OeVP
Legislative branch
bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung consists of Federal Council or Bundesrat (62 seats; delegates appointed by state parliaments with each state receiving 3 to 12 seats in proportion to its population; members serve five- or six-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat (183 seats; members elected by popular vote for a five-year term under a system of proportional representation with partially-open party lists)
elections:
National Council - last held on 28 September 2008 (next to be held by September 2013)
election results:
National Council - percent of vote by party - SPOe 29.3%, OeVP 26%, FPOe 17.5%, BZOe 10.7%, Greens 10.4%, other 6.1%; seats by party - SPOe 57, OeVP 51, FPOe 34, BZOe 21, Greens 20; note - seats by party since 2010 - SPOe 57, OeVP 51, FPOe 39, BZOe 16, Greens 20
Judicial branch
Supreme Judicial Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Administrative Court or Verwaltungsgerichtshof; Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgerichtshof
Political parties and leaders
Alliance for the Future of Austria or BZOe [Josef BUCHER]; Austrian People's Party or OeVP [Michael SPINDELEGGER]; Freedom Party of Austria or FPOe [Heinz Christian STRACHE]; Social Democratic Party of Austria or SPOe [Werner FAYMANN]; The Greens [Eva GLAWISCHNIG]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Austrian Trade Union Federation or OeGB (nominally independent but primarily Social Democratic); Federal Economic Chamber; Labor Chamber or AK (Social Democratic-leaning think tank); OeVP-oriented Association of Austrian Industrialists or IV; Roman Catholic Church, including its chief lay organization, Catholic Action
other:
three composite leagues of the Austrian People's Party or OeVP representing business, labor, farmers, and other nongovernment organizations in the areas of environment and human rights
International organization participation
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Hans Peter MANZ
chancery:
3524 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008-3035
telephone:
[1] (202) 895-6700
FAX:
[1] (202) 895-6750
consulate(s) general:
Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador William C. EACHO III
embassy:
Boltzmanngasse 16, A-1090, Vienna
mailing address:
use embassy street address
telephone:
[43] (1) 31339-0
FAX:
[43] (1) 3100682
Flag description
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red; the flag design is certainly one of the oldest - if not the oldest - national banners in the world; according to tradition, in 1191, following a fierce battle in the Third Crusade, Duke Leopold V of Austria's white tunic became completely blood-spattered; upon removal of his wide belt or sash, a white band was revealed; the red-white-red color combination was subsequently adopted as his banner
National symbol(s)
black eagle
National anthem
name:
"Bundeshymne" (Federal Hymn)
lyrics/music:
Paula von PRERADOVIC/Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART or Johann HOLZER (disputed)
adopted 1947; the anthem is also known as "Land der Berge, Land am Strome" (Land of the Mountains, Land on the River); Austria adopted a new national anthem after World War II to replace the former imperial anthem composed by Franz Josef HAYDN, which had been appropriated by Germany in 1922 and was now associated with the Nazi regime
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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