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Austria is a largely mountainous country due to its location at the eastern end of the Alps. This mountain range dominates the western and southern parts of Austria while the country’s lower-lying eastern provinces are in the Danube basin.
The most important sectors of Austria’s economy in 2012 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (22.3 %), industry (21.8 %) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (17.7 %).
Austria’s main export partners are Germany, Italy and the US, while its main import partners are Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
Geographical size: 83 879.0 km²
Population: 8 408 121 (2012)
Population as % of total EU population: 1.7 % (2012)
GDP: € 307 billion (2012)
Official EU language(s): German
Political system: federal parliamentary republic
EU member country since: 1 January 1995
Seats in the European Parliament: 18
Currency: Eurozone member since 1 January 1999
Passport-free travel? Yes, Schengen Area member since: 28 April 1995
Presidency of the Council: Austria has held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU twice: in 1998 and 2006. The next time will be in 2019.
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Austrian government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of Austrian presidencies:
Jul-Dec 1998 | Jan-Jun 2006 | Jan-Jun 2019
More on the current presidency of the Council of the EU.
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
Commission representation in Austria
Austria has 12 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
Austria has 12 representatives on the Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Austria also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Austria's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa. The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.
Breakdown of Austria's finances with the EU in 2012:
More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
The money paid into the EU budget by Austria helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how Austria benefits from EU funding.