Austria is a federal parliamentary republic with a head of government - the chancellor - and a head of state - the president. The country consists of 9 states (Bundesländer). Both regional and federal governments exercise executive power. The federal Parliament consists of 2 chambers: the Lower House (Nationalrat) - directly elected - and the Upper House (Bundesrat) - elected by regional parliaments.
The most important sectors of Austria’s economy in 2016 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (22.9 %), industry (21.6 %) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (17.5 %).
Intra-EU trade accounts for 71% of Austria’s exports (Germany 30%, Italy 6%, and Slovakia 4%), while outside the EU 6% go to the United States and 5% to Switzerland.
In terms of imports, 78% come from EU countries (Germany 43%, Italy 6% and Czechia 4%), while outside the EU 6% come from Switzerland and 3% from China.
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 | July-Dec 2018
The following link is a redirection to an external websiteCurrent presidency of the Council of the EU
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
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 European 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 2017:
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.