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Austria Country Report

Country Risk Level

Low

Overview

Executive Summary

Austria is governed by a coalition between Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's centre-right Austrian People's Party (Österreichische Volkspartei: ÖVP) and the Greens (Die Grünen). Government stability relies on internal unity within the Greens and overcoming potential conflicts due to power imbalances stemming from the ÖVP's far larger share of the vote (37.48% versus the Greens’ 13.9%).The government's core policy challenge for the foreseeable future will be limiting the negative impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak with the help of containment measures and wide-reaching fiscal policy support. The government has pledged overall funds of EUR41 billion, or 11% of GDP (including a EUR4-billion emergency fund financing protective gear, short-time work subsidies, and grants to micro businesses), and an additional EUR9 billion for guarantees.Notwithstanding substantial fiscal support and the gradual loosening of lockdown restrictions since mid-April, any economic activity linked to large public gatherings will be unable to fully normalise ahead of the widespread availability of a vaccine (likely around mid-2021). Austrian GDP is therefore likely to contract by 6.2% in 2020 and recover only partially in 2021 (growth of 4.3%).The first public-sector surpluses in over 40 years in 2018–19 have given the government substantial leeway to limit company insolvencies and unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. The public-sector budget balance will nonetheless deteriorate sharply from a surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2019 to a deficit of nearly 8% in 2020. A return to balanced budgets will take several years.Austria faces a moderate risk of jihadist terrorist attacks primarily affecting major urban centres, especially Vienna. The most likely form of attack is one of low capability, for instance using a vehicle or rudimentary weapons such as knives, carried out by a lone actor or small cells inspired but not necessarily directed by militant non-state groups such as the Islamic State.

Operational Outlook

Austria is usually a favourable business and investment destination, but there is currently a heightened risk of disruption caused by the COVID-19 virus outbreak and related emergency measures. The government is fast-tracking a range of business reforms, including regarding the establishment of companies, with an overhaul modelled on UK limited companies. In the long run, the operational environment is likely to remain stable and attractive for domestic and international competitors. Further structural reforms to reduce the administrative burden for businesses are likely to be introduced. Austria’s unions are strong, but industrial action is rare. The country maintains solid trade links with its neighbours in the EU and Western Balkans.

Terrorism

The risk of terrorist attacks in Austria is lower than in many other Western European countries, including neighbouring Germany. However, there is a moderate risk of both low-capability and more sophisticated jihadist terrorist attacks launched by lone actors or small cells. Soft targets such as transport hubs, music and sport venues, shopping centres, or public spaces near tourist attractions or in city centres are likely to be most at risk. Moreover, there is a heightened risk of far-right terrorism and anti-Semitic incidents in Austria.

Crime

Overall crime levels are likely to remain low. Systematic, large-scale violent and armed crime is particularly rare. Petty crime affects Vienna and other tourist centres, but is nevertheless limited. Drug-related offences have been targeted by increased surveillance of dealer locations in Vienna. Racially motivated attacks occur periodically and remain a risk following increased migration to Austria in recent years. An increase of anti-Semitic incidents over the last two years was reported in June 2020. Organised crime groups are mostly multinational and mainly focus on trafficking people, arms, vehicles, and drugs, taking advantage of Austria’s geographic position as a gateway between Eastern and Western Europe.

Social Stability

Austria is an internally stable country and overall civil unrest risks are lower than in several other European countries, including France and Germany. COVID-19 virus restrictions reduced the size of protests early in the year, but these are likely to pick up again, including small protests against the restrictions. Anti-EU, anti-Islam, and anti-refugee protests, as well as counter-demonstrations, remain moderately likely. In addition, environmental activism organised by groups such as Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion is likely to continue following the continued gradual loosening of restrictions around COVID-19.

Health Risk

Low

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Natural Risks

Transportation

Austria has highway and road infrastructure meeting the western European standard and public transportation is well equipped and easily accessible. Mountain roads are well tended, but winter weather can see snow blocking some areas. Snow tires and other equipment is recommended for driving in mountainous areas.

Practical Information

Climate

Austria's climate is continental in the north and the east of the country, with heavy rain in the summer. Temperatures fluctuate significantly between seasons and snowstorms are common in winter months in the west of the country (mountainous region).

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +43
Emergency Services: 112
Police: 133
Fire Department: 122
Ambulance: 144

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal