Sat. Jul 13th, 2024
The United States and Austria: Decades of Partnership

The United States and Austria have enjoyed diplomatic relations for more than 220 years.  In the post-World War II era, the United States played an essential role in the country’s reconstruction and in the Austrian State Treaty which declared Austria to be a free, independent, and neutral state.  Our nations share democratic values, including support for human rights and the rule of law, and a vision of peace and freedom for all.  The two countries are bound together through myriad people-to-people contacts in business and entrepreneurship, the arts, education, science and technology, and a host of exchanges.

The United States and Austria reaffirmed in 2023 our commitment to advancing our joint interests through the U.S.-Austria Strategic Dialogue, including on global and regional security issues; the importance of upholding the international rules-based order; condemning Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine; issues concerning the Middle East and the PRC; defending and advancing human rights and democracy; the fight against racism, antisemitism, and anti-Muslim hatred; support for Holocaust survivors; disarmament and non-proliferation; and the Western Balkans.

Austria and the United States are partners in promoting global security, strengthening economic cooperation, and collaborating to promote and defend our shared values around the world.

People to People Connections

Austria is one of 51 countries worldwide with a Fulbright educational exchange program managed by an autonomous binational commission.  The State Department has provided opportunities for more than 4,000 Austrians to participate in U.S. government-funded exchange programs since 1951.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in September 2020 creating an exchange program between the U.S. Naval Academy and the Theresian Military Academy, which already has a similar program with the United States Military Academy at West Point.

In February 2024, a first of its kind Memorandum of Understanding was signed expanding professional development exchanges between the United States and Austria to include opportunities for technical and vocational students.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Austria was one of the top ten fastest growing U.S. trade partners and foreign direct investors as of 2019, and the United States remains Austria’s second largest export destination after Germany.  Austria is a member of the European Union and World Trade Organization, offering export opportunities for U.S. companies of all sizes with no significant trade barriers.  The country represents a desirable, affluent market for U.S.-made products in Europe.  The trade and investment relationship with Austria is robust and supports thousands of new jobs in both countries.

Austria’s Membership in International Organizations

Austrian leaders emphasize the country’s role as both an East-West hub and a moderator between industrialized and developing countries.  Austria hosts the International Atomic Energy Agency and several other UN bodies, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  Austria and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the UN, OSCE, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.  Austria is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) but participates in its Partnership for Peace program and has military personnel embedded in NATO, EU, and UN peacekeeping operations worldwide.  Austria also is an observer to the Organization of American States.  It is a member of the Three Seas Initiative.

Standing Together in Support for Ukraine

The United States and Austria – in coordination with other Allies and partners – are collaborating to support Ukraine and its people in the face of Russia’s war of aggression.  Austria has welcomed and assisted more than 85,000 refugees since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

In accordance with its status as a neutral country, Austria has focused its assistance on non-military support, including more than $200 million in humanitarian aid for the people of Ukraine, and donating 2 million Euros to the International Trust Fund to support demining efforts.  Austria has also supported EU Russia sanctions and continues to collaborate with the EU on improving the integrity of the sanctions regime.

Restitution

During the immediate postwar period Austrian authorities introduced certain restitution and compensation measures for Nazi victims, but Austrians later viewed these initial measures as inadequate and/or unjust.  Beginning in 1995, the government set up several programs to address gaps and deficiencies in post-war restitution and compensation programs.  It continues to work with partners on such Holocaust issues as compensation, restitution, education, and commemoration.  Since 1994, Austria has committed to providing victims and heirs some $1 billion in restitution.  In accordance with a September 2019 amendment to the Austrian Citizenship Act, as of September 1, 2020, direct descendants of victims of the Nazi regime previously resident in Austria can obtain dual Austrian citizenship.  Austria helped draft the Best Practices for the Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, which the Secretary of State welcomed on March 5, 2024 and 23 governments have endorsed to date.  Austria is a partner in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and other international institutions.

Official news published at https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-and-austria-decades-of-partnership/

originally published at Politics - JISIP NEWS