Germany and Austria: Bilateral relations

03.03.2023 - Article

Ties with Germany’s southern neighbour Austria are based not only on shared language and culture but also on a centuries-long shared history. The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation encompassed both Austrians and Germans, and for several centuries the Holy Roman Emperors came from the House of Habsburg.

As neighbours, Germany and Austria maintain especially close political relations based on mutual trust. Because of the many similar political, economic and social challenges Germany and Austria face, interest in developments in the partner country is particularly keen.

Germany is by far Austria’s most important economic partner. With an annual trade volume of around 100 billion euro, Austria is one of Germany’s most important trading partners. Numerous German companies have branch offices and production facilities in Austria. The country is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Germans, who accounted for approximately 14 million visitors and 57 million overnight stays annually in 2019, before COVID. There are approximately 330,000 German nationals living in Austria.

German cultural and academic exchange with Austria is probably more intense and wide-ranging than with any other country. Many German conductors, orchestras, musicians, singers, directors, artistic directors and actors work in Austria, and the same applies to Austrians in Germany. Vacancies for academic positions are often advertised across the border. Numerous German-Austrian film and TV co-productions, some of which have won awards, testify to the excellent cooperation in this area, too.

The two countries’ media markets are closely linked, as is illustrated by the fact that German publishing houses hold shares in Austrian media companies, co-productions in radio, television and film abound, and the countries cooperate on the TV channels 3Sat and Arte. Owing to extensive media coverage of the partner country, there is much common ground and overlapping in public debate on political, economic, cultural and social issues.


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