Interview with H.E. Mr Maximilian Hennig, Austrian Ambassador to Finland
Economic outlook of Austria today – and what are the future prospects for the country?
Austria is politically and economically one of the most stable countries in the world. Inflation rates are low, the increase in national debt has been successfully curbed and the target of a balanced budget appears within reach. An array of measures have been implemented in order to stimulate growth through liberalisation and privatisation, thus securing the future through social system reforms.
Austria has been a member of the European Union since 1995 and is fully integrated in the common market. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita in 2018 is predicted at 38.992 Euro (at ppp), putting Austria in fourth rank among the EU countries.
For 2019 a similar growth rate – possibly with a slight increase – of Austria’s GDP is predicted.
Austria´s economy is oriented towards the global market, with an export ratio for goods and services of 53,5% in 2017.
Which kind of business opportunities are there for Finnish companies in Austria?
Austria is a great test market for the whole of the German speaking region, with very high purchasing power and her ideal location in the centre of Europe, with the Vienna airport as a leading hub for CEE and SEE: 23 countries – 37 destinations – 565 departures per week. Thus, it is an excellent choice for locating a regional or European headquarter respectively. So far 380 regional headquarters of multinational companies enjoy the advantages of Austria´s excellent business environment.
Austria is also attractive for research-oriented companies. There are highly qualified and motivated employees available. Technical Colleges release graduates who are ready to start working in companies, having experienced a lot of practice during their academic curriculum. Austria’s apprentices are among the best in the world.
Austria enjoys a good reputation as an attractive location for businesses – please let us know how you attract foreign companies to Austria – any examples?
Austria´s USP can be described as follows: Central location in the heart of Europe, tax advantages like attractive tax breaks, research premiums or funds provided by the Research Promotion Agency. About 2,800 technologically oriented research and development institutes as well as 60 Centres of Excellence combine the interests of Economy with the know-how of Science. Highly qualified staff, top quality of life (Vienna’s quality of life was rated No.1 in Europe by Mercer global survey for the last four years in a row), as well as political and social stability with one of the lowest strike rates worldwide have rendered Austria an attractive business location for international companies.
Parliamentary elections took place in 2017 in Austria. Will there be any major changes for business after the elections?
Traditionally, Austrian governments have all worked towards combining a healthy business environment with excellent conditions for the workforce. The current government´s focus on the next level of digitalisation has been welcomed by all parts of society. In addition, the government’s clear goal to reduce the administrative and fiscal burden for entrepreneurs should have positive effects for businesses.
How have Austrian enterprises been able to benefit from the Free Trade Agreements Austria has signed separately or as a member of the EU?
Overall, the decrease of costs involved with foreign trade, e.g. reduction of customs duties, consumption taxes etc. as well as unified systems for certification of products and services, common standards and simplification of procedures have been a booster for an export oriented country like Austria. This has also enabled minor companies, which would not have the means of tackling complex ways of approaching foreign markets, to expand internationally.
We know Vienna and Austrian skiing resorts as great tourist destinations very well. Which other towns and regions would you recommend to visit and why?
Take a ride on one of the cruise ships going up and down the Danube river during spring, when apricot trees are in blossom and the mild temperatures make walking a city a real pleasure. (vienna-danube ) © Österreich Werbung
Go to Bregenz Festival in the very west of Austria during summer time and enjoy the visual and musical drama of the opera on the lake. (carmen_plakatsujet ) © Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler / pigrafik
Enjoy hiking in Alpine Tyrol during autumn, when weather is stable, the skies are clear and the colours wonderful. (leutasch-tirol ) © Österreich Werbung
Visit rural Christmas markets during December, where you can meet locals and enjoy their way of preparing for the upcoming Christmas season, and melt into their friendly environment. (magical-christmas ) © Österreich Werbung
Written by H.E. Mr Maximilian Hennig, Austrian Ambassador to Finland
Seminar on Austria in Helsinki on 18th April 2018.
Read more https://finncham.fi/2018/02/06/austria-dynamic-business-hub-central-europe/