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Introduction: Once the center of power for the large Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria was reduced to a small republic after its defeat in World War I. Following annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938 and subsequent occupation by the victorious Allies in 1945, Austria's status remained unclear for a decade. A State Treaty signed in 1955 ended the occupation, recognized Austria's independence, and forbade unification with Germany. A constitutional law that same year declared the country's "perpetual neutrality" as a condition for Soviet military withdrawal. The Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995 have altered the...

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Foreign Policy: Austria's role within the EU remains a key area of interest for the government. Austria has been an EU Member State since January 1995 and last held the rotating EU Presidency in the first half of 2006. Former Austrian Foreign Minister, Dr Benita Ferrero-Waldner, was the EU Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy between 2004 and 2009.

Austria has a strong policy commitment to strengthening the EU's role as an international player and supports measures to deepen the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the development of a common European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). The ...

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History: Austrian history dates back to 976, when Leopold von Babenberg became the ruler of much of present-day Austria. In 1276 Rudolf I became the first Habsburg to ascend to the throne.

The Habsburg Empire

Although never unchallenged, the Habsburgs ruled Austria for nearly 750 years. Through political marriages, the Habsburgs were able to accumulate vast land ...

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International Relations: Austria joined the European Union in 1995. It is a member of the UN and hosts a number of UN agencies. It also hosts, in Vienna, the Secretariat of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Since 1955, Austria has been a neutral state. NATO membership is likely to remain off the agenda, with the concept of neutrality extremely popular among the electorate, but Austria will continue to participate in NATO led initiatives such as Partnership for Peace. Austria contributes to a large number of UN peacekeeping operations. Austria also contributes to a number ...

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