Demography and economic geography. – Central European state. According to an estimate by UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs), in 2014 the population was 8,526,429 residents, with a density of about 102 residents per km2. The capital Vienna in 2013 recorded a population of 2,013,941 residents, In the agglomeration (Greater Vienna); overall, the Austria it has an urbanization rate of 67.9%, rather low for a highly industrialized country. The natural rate of increase is equal to 0% and the annual population growth (around 0.4%) is therefore deriving solely from immigration flows. Consequently, the median age of the population is quite high (44.3 years) and there are more than 2 million individuals over the age of 60. Overall, 12.5% of the population is of non-Austrian nationality, with a prevalence of German, Turkish, Serbian and Bosnian immigrants.
Economic conditions. – According to ebizdir, the Austrian economy is largely based on the industrial sector, while, albeit a majority (72%), the services sector occupies a relatively modest space compared to other European countries. The primary sector records high productivity and contributes 4% of GDP; with 47% of the territory occupied by forests, Austria it stands out especially for the production of wood for construction and industrial purposes and for its craftsmanship. In 2012 the industrial sector employed around 29% of the workforce (compared to 1.6% of the primary sector), covering 53% of GDP and thus becoming a driving force for the Austrian economy. The main sectors are chemistry, petrochemicals, metallurgy, mechanics, food. In the tertiary sector, another sector of great importance is the tourism-hospitality one:
The economic trend of recent years has been characterized by a certain stagnation, in line with the international economic situation; the real Austrian GDP, equal according to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) to $ 436.1 billion in 2014, grew by 1% from the previous year. The author, however, is confirmed as the European country with the lowest number of unemployed in relation to the active population (5% in 2014). In general, the 2008 crisis had shorter-lasting consequences on the Austrian economy, with a slow recovery recorded as early as 2010, thanks also to state intervention in stabilizing the banking system. In March 2012, the Austrian parliament also launched an austerity plan with the aim of achieving structural balance in 2016. Another important measure was the lifting of the veto on the European legislation on the taxation of savings in 2014, which will place restrictions in terms of banking supervision.
The entry of the FPÖ (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs), the xenophobic and anti-European party led by Jörg Haider, into the governing coalition (2000), helped to ignite the Austrian political debate of the following years on issues such as immigration and opposition to the possible entry of Turkey (whose emigration flows were feared) into the EU and to any further extension of European integration.
During the 2006 electoral campaign, these were the issues of greatest friction between the parties. The polls awarded the Social Democrats of the SPÖ (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs), followed by the popular members of the ÖVP (Österreichische Volkspartei), who formed a grand coalition government. Despite disagreements on fiscal policies and budget priorities, the two parties agreed on the establishment of a national minimum wage and on increasing public investment in education and scientific research.
To stem the growing Euroscepticism of public opinion, in July 2008 the SPÖ proposed to submit any subsequent amendments to the European treaties to a referendum: contrary to the proposal, the ÖVP left the government and went to early elections (Sept. 2008). They saw a clear downsizing of both the SPÖ and the ÖVP, which also remained the two major Austrian parties, to the advantage of the populist and xenophobic right of the FPÖ and the BZÖ (Bündnis Zukunft Österreich) and Haider, in controversy with some exponents of the Freiheitliche partei, had founded in 2005.
In the new SPÖ-ÖVP coalition government, the two parties took a cooperative attitude, which allowed them to face the global economic crisis – felt less in Austria than in other European countries – and to approve the austerity measures necessary to bring back the Austrian deficit within the limits set by the EU.
The subsequent legislative elections (Sept. 2013) saw a further rightward shift in Austrian politics. The two major parties, considered responsible for austerity policies too rigid, they registered a new decline in consensus, in favor of the FPÖ. Furthermore, the electoral debut of Team Stronach, the new center-right party founded in 2012 by the millionaire Austro-Canadian businessman Frank Stronach, was positive: with its populist and euro-skeptical orientation that put it in tune with the Austrian public opinion, it crossed the threshold and entered Parliament. The objective was not achieved, however, by the BZÖ, in trouble after the premature death of the leader Haider (Oct 2008) and penalized by the competition from Stronach. The great ÖVP-SPÖ eco-evaluation was reconfirmed to the government.
The beginning of the 21st century. he saw a greater presence of the Austria, which remained neutral, on the international scene. In 2005 he ratified the European Constitution, which however did not come into force due to the opposite referendum vote of France and the Netherlands, and in the two-year period 2009-10 occupied a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.