Austrian Security Policy - New Tasks and Challenges

Gunther HAUSER

The primary aim of this contribution is to define and to discuss Austria’s role in European security. Security policy in Austria today continues along the lines of pragmatic neutrality by participating in EU Petersberg and NATO Partnership for Peace tasks. Although Austria works closely with NATO member states within NATO PfP and EU, NATO membership did not enjoy high popularity in Austria. According to various polls more than two thirds of Austrians still favor neutrality. However, Austria is quite engaged in UN, EU and NATO peace support operations. As a member of EU, Austria has pivotal interests in integrating Central, Eastern and Southeastern European states into Euro-Atlantic security structures.

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Hlavním cílem příspěvku je vymezit pozici Rakouska v oblasti evropské bezpečnosti. Současná rakouská bezpečnostní politika pokračuje prostřednictvím účasti na aktivitách EU na základě Petersberské dohody a programu NATO Partnerství pro mír při zachování zásad pragmatické neutrality. I když Rakousko úzce spolupracuje s členskými státy NATO v rámci programu NATO PfP a EU, členství v NATO nemá v zemi příliš velkou podporu. Na základě výsledků několika různých průzkumů veřejného mínění více než dvě třetiny Rakušanů stále upřednostňují neutralitu. Přesto se Rakousko výrazně angažuje v mírových operacích organizací OSN, EU a NATO. Jako člen EU má Rakousko primární zájem na integraci středních, východních a jihovýchodních evropských států do euroatlantických bezpečnostních struktur.

Klíčová slova
Rakousko, neutralita, Bezpečnostní a obranná doktrína 2001, ESDP, NATO PfP.

Austria, neutrality, 2001 Security and Defense Doctrine, ESDP, NATO PfP.


Since 1955, Austrian security policy has been based on neutrality in different ways. In October 1955, declaring neutrality was one of the conditions for the withdrawal of post-war Soviet occupation forces, paving the way for a free and independent Austria. Austrian permanent neutrality was a product and a result of Soviet peaceful coexistence policy creating a neutral Alpine wedge together with Switzerland cutting the NATO Northern ank from the Southern ank. During the Cold War period, Austrian neutrality became important within the framework of an active and peaceful neutrality policy as stated by former Chancellor Bruno Kreisky.

In 1991, the Warsaw Pact vanished, and NATO partly rewrote its doctrine. During the 1990s, European neutrals started to commit to the growing system of security and politicalmilitary cooperation within the European Union and to support the tasks of NATO’s Partnership for Peace, including humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks, and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace enforcement. On March 12, 1999, three former parts of Warsaw Pact system – the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland – became members of NATO. On March 29, 2004, seven former communist countries – Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the former Yugoslav republic of Slovenia – joined NATO.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain and Austria’s accession to the EU on January 1, 1995, and to the NATO Partnership for Peace in May 1995, the Austrian security and political situation has changed signicantly and today it is directly linked with developments in the European Union and NATO.

When the EU Treaty entered into force on November 1, 1993, the creation of a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) became one of the main objectives of all EU member states, including the so-called neutral and non-aligned countries of Austria, Finland, Ireland, and Sweden. Upon achieving CFSP, Europe should nally be able to speak with one voice. With the CFSP, security policy is part of foreign policy, not separate from it. Achieving this goal shall also include the creation of a common defense policy, if the European Council decides so. The concept of European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) was launched during the Austrian EU presidency in the second half of 1998. French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair decided in France (December 3—4, 1998) to strengthen the European defense pillar. Both political leaders accepted the French position that the “union must have the capability for autonomous action” in defense matters, whereas the United Kingdom was keen to stress the organic link between the European Union and the NATO.[1] Before, at the informal European Council meeting in Austria, October 24—25, 1998, the United Kingdom for the rst time publicly referred to her altered position on European defense cooperation. Prime Minister Tony Blair stated that Europe’s policies relating to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo were “unacceptable” and marked by “weakness and confusion.”[2] In the spring of 1999, the NATO air attacks against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in order to stop “ethnic cleansings” in Kosovo made it clear that Europe depends on U.S. military capabilities. Austria, therefore, symbolized the rst, explicit step by the EU member states toward establishing a European crisis management capability backed by a more effective military infrastructure. At the Cologne and Helsinki European Council Summits in 1999, heads of states and governments decided that the European Rapid Reaction Forces (EU RRF) – about 60,000 troops – should have the capacity to undertake autonomous action until 2003 so the EU “can take decisions and approve military action where the Alliance as a whole is not engaged.”[3] The primary tasks for the EU are now to increase and coordinate capabilities both for its own security and for the stabilization of the European area.

Austria’s security strategy is now in line with the 2003 EU strategy paper “A Secure Europe in a Better World” where the following threats are identied as key threats for EU security: regional conicts, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), failed states, and organized crime.

This article intends to show the main steps and challenges of Austria’s role in developing the CFSP and ESDP processes by analyzing the paths of Austrian politics towards a comprehensive European security system.


At the beginning of the Cold War, many European states decided to become neutral – as did Austria, Finland, and Sweden – due to their geopolitical situation between East and West. The neutral status of Austria – declared by the Austrian Parliament through the Federal Constitutional Law on Austria’s neutrality on October 26, 1955 – was a condition for the withdrawal of post-war Soviet and allied occupation forces. Firstly Austria’s neutrality was intended to be modeled on the Swiss neutrality. But quite soon, Austria’s neutrality differed from that of Switzerland when joining the United Nations Organization in December 1955. For Austria, Finland, and Sweden, neutrality also included an active, positive foreign policy in pursuit of international peace and justice, in order to make contributions to peace and stability. As Austrian President Heinz Fischer explained during the presidential election campaign in 2004, “only neutrality combined with international solidarity, only that kind of neutrality policy Austria is focusing on, can be the fundament for a new peace policy today the world needs particularly urgent.”[4]

In 1995, Austria joined the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) together with Finland and Sweden. In 1996 Switzerland – since September 10, 2002 a UN member – decided as a neutral country to join this comprehensive security coordination system. In 1996, Austria and Sweden were founding members of the UN Multinational Standby High Readiness Brigade of United Nations Operations (SHIRBRIG), which was also included the NATO members Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Poland. Austria took the SHIRBRIG presidency in 2004, coordinating UN operations. Austria’s contingent to SHIRBRIG consists of a transportation company.

Austrian security and political situation today is directly linked with developments in EU and NATO. In 1998, a special provision (article 23f) was added to the Austrian Federal Constitution to ensure that participation in the CFSP would not be restricted by the 1955 Neutrality Act. Soon after elected in 2000, Austria’s centre-right coalition government initiated a debate on the country’s declared defense perspective – the implications of which are likely to have far reaching consequences for the planned national security doctrine and defense review. There is a consensus over the issue of Austrian participation in the EU security and defense based on active neutrality policy among the political parties represented in the parliament. Any change in Austria’s traditional neutral status will likely provoke intense criticism from within Socialist and Green Party opposition, and from elements of the national media and Austrian public opinion. After intensive discussions in a parliamentary sub-committee specically set up for this purpose in 2001, on December 12, 2001, the National Assembly adopted by majority a new Security and Defense Doctrine (SDD) on the basis of the expert’ draft analysis approved by the Federal Government on January 23, 2001. For the rst time since the adoption of the last National Defense Plan in 1983 based on the 1975 Defense Doctrine, Austria again has a basic political guideline for devising its security policy, based on:

• Principles of comprehensive security with due consideration of both the military and the non-military aspects of security. The clearly perceivable threat scenario of the Cold War era has been replaced by a complex mix of dangers and risks. Its origins may lie in the political, economic, military, social, ecological, cultural-religious and information technology areas.

• A conventional military attack threatening the country’s existence is currently not foreseeable, whereas the capability of countering punctual attacks must be constantly maintained. This includes steps to maintain and develop all military core functions at a high technological level on a scale of forces operatively sustainable.

• The SDD recommends the development of capabilities in order to participate in common defense efforts; to take part in the entire spectrum of the Petersberg[5] tasks within a multinational framework up to the scale of a brigade or brigade equivalent.

• Achievement of interoperability is a key task in order to carry out peace support operations abroad and for the defense of Austria. In terms of personnel this can only be achieved by maintaining universal conscription. However, the qualications needed call for a gradual increase in the degree of professionalizing capabilities and in the share of volunteers.

• The SDD also recommends ensuring capacities for assistance operations to help in case of disasters, to support the Federal Ministry of Interior in case of terrorist threats, to control the country’s borders and to guard sensitive infrastructure.

• Promoting armament cooperation should enable Austria to achieve synergies, make armament procurement less costly and get access to the latest key technologies. The Federal Ministry of Defense (MOD) will publish a White Paper every two years with a ten-year perspective, detailing the tasks, state and requirements of the Austrian Armed Forces, considering the prevailing situation.

• The Federal MOD should seek opportunities for regional cooperation projects with a view to achieving synergies in various areas, e.g. in joint armament projects. Opportunities for cooperation within the framework of NATO Partnership for Peace shall be fully exploited, and in addition to exercise and training, they shall also embrace all aspects of research, especially in the eld of security policy.

• The principle of preventive security replaced the concept of threat response. The active participation in international measures for conict prevention and crisis management is an internal part of Austria’s security policy. Therefore, the principle of European solidarity replaced the concept of autonomous security policy (‘European security through cooperation’).

• Geographical distance from areas of conict no longer guarantees sufcient protection. The new challenges and risks arising in the eld of security policy cannot be met alone but only within the framework of international cooperation in the spirit of solidarity. The security of Austria and the security of the European Union are inseparably linked with each other. Austria today implements her security policy essentially within the framework of the EU.

• The danger of domestically motivated political terrorism is non-existent in Austria at present. In view of the progressive development and availability of long-range air assets, especially ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, Austria may face a military threat even from regions outside Europe in a few years’time. Moreover, the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) may lead to new threats also for Austria despite appropriate non-proliferation regimes.

• Austria is also confronted with the negative effects of globalization, especially in the shape of organized crime and international terrorism, but also illegal immigration, especially from Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

• Additionally, sub-strategies should be elaborated for all relevant areas of implementation of the SDD. These sub-strategies should contain primarily such measures as are necessary for implementing the recommendations and relate in particular to the areas of foreign policy, defense policy and internal security. In addition, sub-strategies are also to be prepared in the elds of economic, agricultural, transport, infrastructure and nancial policy as well as education and information policy. The Internal Security sub-strategy focuses on the following key areas: public security, civil protection, crisis management, independence of the judiciary and criminal justice.

In the 2001 Security and Defense Doctrine (SDD), NATO membership remains an option. But currently, none of the parties represented in the parliament is supporting Austrian NATO membership.

Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel declared that “classical all-round neutrality must give way to common solidarity within the European family”[6] and called for mutual assistance under the umbrella of EU membership. During a visit to Austria on February 8, 2001, Russian president Vladimir Putin reiterated the lasting international importance of Austrian neutrality, despite the fact that opposing blocs no longer existed. Putin said Austrian neutrality was “a question that the Austrian people themselves must decide.”[7]

In general, key elements of the 2001 Doctrine include:

• The transition away from strict neutrality – this began de facto with Austria’s EU membership in January 1995 – without any provision for neutrality. According to SDD, Austria’s international status is currently dened as ‘non-aligned’.

• The participation in the whole spectrum of the EU Petersberg tasks, as follows: humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks, tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking. Extending EU Petersberg tasks are foreseen in Article III-309 of the EU Constitutional Treaty and relate to disarmament operations, military advice and assistance talks and the ght against terrorism in various elds.

• The acceptance that there is currently no clearly dened military dominated threat-scenario, although there is the recognition of the key threats to Austria according to the 2003 European Security Strategy.

• The recognition that there can be no reference to Austria’s national security without reference to the concept of European security.

• The recognition that the predominance of U.S. Forces in NATO will further direct the development of security policy on the European continent and will inuence future stability. Therefore the basis of stability and security in Europe will be the maintenance and enhancement of transatlantic cooperation.


In Austria, the political attitudes determine the relationship between armed forces and society – as a result of democratic pluralism. In real terms, soldiers are part of the society. Sociologically the Austrian Armed Forces is a societal organization – institutionalized by the state. The armed forces are subordinated to state politics. Questions of creating a professional army or a compulsory army, the legal rights and duties of soldiers, the question of leadership, etc. are subject to decisions made by the governmental and constitutional process. The primacy of politics is dened through control mechanisms as follows:

• By a legal framework for armed forces and defense: The constitution guarantees that armed forces are essential part of the Austrian society. Soldiers are citizens in uniform with rights and duties guaranteed by the Austrian constitution. There is a primacy of democratic policy and parliamentary control of armed forces.

• Through controlling the defense budget. Fiscal expenses of the army must be approved by the parliament.

• By inuence on training and education of ofcers (also done by civilians).

• The Commander-in-Chief is the Federal President (civilian, Article 80 (1) of the Federal Constitution)

• The supreme command is exercised by the Minister of Defense by way of his ofcers and military commanders. The responsibility of leadership is executed by the Minister of Defense to the Parliament (Article 80 (1) and (3) of the Federal Constitution).

• All the armed forces are controlled by the Administrative Court (Article 129 of the Federal Constitution).

• There is no existence of military court during peacetime (Article 84 of the Federal Constitution).

• Austria’s guiding principle is comprehensive defense (military, psychological, civil and economic defense) embedded in the political concept of active and dynamic neutrality.

• Each male citizen has to join the armed forces when they become 18 (Article 9a of the Federal Constitution). In 2006, compulsory military service obligation was reduced from 8 to 6 months. According to the Federal Constitution, compulsory military service can be refused in case of severe personal ethical or religious reasons. Then, such person is obliged to join civil service.

• The country’s military defense is the duty of the Austrian Armed Forces. It is conducted on the principles of a militia system. The armed forces furthermore have to protect the constitutionally established institutions and the population’s democratic freedoms; to maintain order and security inside the country; to render assistance in the case of natural catastrophes and disasters of exceptional magnitude (ooding, avalanches).

• Since the end of the Cold War, the Austrian Armed Forces have been increasingly assisting the border police in safeguarding Austrian borders against illegal immigrants.

Relating to the 2004 Austrian Armed Forces Reform Commission report, the mobilized establishment should be lowered from approximately 110,000 to 55,000 troops, including about 3,000 ready for international peace operations. Fifty percents shall be made up by professional servicemen/women with (un)limited contracts. The militia component will be integrated into the new structures and serve on equal status. The running budget will have to amount from 0.8 percent to approximately 1 percent of the GDP.


Security policy experts note that the rise of non-state actors will dominate the future global scene. The terrorists and sub-state actors will be motivated by a number of causes, including emerging nationalism, ethnic rivalries, religious motivations, and narco-interests. Conict involving non-state actors is likely to be conducted in the midst of the civilian population. The mingling of civilians and combatants will force the military to adopt more restrictive rules of engagement or new strategies to reduce the risk of civilian casualties while maintaining effectiveness against the threat the same time.

It is not difcult to see that the global war on terror cannot be won by military force only. There is the necessity of a wide and comprehensive security approach to contain the roots and causes of terrorism. Relating to different U.S. and European strategic concepts, action plans and UN Security Council resolutions,

• terrorists and their organizations should be defeated;

• sponsorship, support, and sanctuary should be denied;

• citizens and their interests at home and abroad should be defended;

• in order to reduce the number of terrorists and the dangers they pose.

Proliferation of missile technology and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are the most dangerous obstacles to the process of security management. Operations for responding to the proliferation include:

• active defense;

• arms control;

• preventive strikes;

• vulnerability reduction / passive protection; and

• deterrence by threat of punishment.

In order to face threats, all EU member states are engaged in the transformation of their armed forces. Because of budgetary constraints, this is necessarily a gradual process. For most of the member states it becomes increasingly difcult to maintain the traditional wide range of capabilities in army, navy and air force.

The drive for NATO, NATO Partnership for Peace (NATO PfP) and EU membership also strongly stimulates the reform processes in the security sector in Southeastern Europe. The transformation of the national armed forces in Southeastern Europe is one of the key elements in the stabilization process. The reasons for the armed forces reform in the individual Western Balkan countries have been different: post-totalitarian, post-conict, good governance and counter-terrorism.

Austria is fully embedded in the European armed forces transformation process. In Austria, parliament has delegated its rights to approve or disapprove of military deployments to a standing committee, which has participated in the exercise of various executive tasks. Moreover, the government may deploy troops without parliamentary approval if time does not allow for prior consultation. In this case, a debate must be held within 15 days. If parliament does not endorse the deployment, the troops have to be ordered back.

The use of force can be considered legitimate in case of:

• aiding population in case of disaster;

• providing humanitarian assistance;

• assuring domestic security; and

• saving lives of nationals abroad or obtaining the release of hostages.

Austria, as a member of NATO PfP, uses the NATO Planning and Review Process (PARP) and the Political-Military Framework (PMF) for NATO-led PfP operations as a planning mechanism for contributions to the Headline Goal of the European Security and Defense Policy within the framework of the “tailored cooperation program.”

Transformation of European armed forces is well underway, largely under long term pressure from NATO and EU capability improvement schemes like the Prague Capability Commitment (PCC) and the EU Helsinki Headline Goal (HHG) 2010. The EU has been setting the goal to establish a Rapid Reaction Force to be deployable within 60 days and to sustain for at least one year, up to 15 brigades (60,000 soldiers). Since 2000, EU also has been developing civilian components. Since 2003, the EU has been establishing the four following main civilian instruments that are mutually dependent:

• Police cooperation which would provide up to 6,000 policemen, including 1,000 to be deployable within 30 days, for tasks ranging from restoring order in cooperation with a military force to the training of local police (NATO members Iceland and Norway participate in this cooperation by providing police capacities).

• Cooperation to conduct rule of law missions by providing up to 600 judges, prosecutors, and other experts in the eld.

• Civilian administration that would provide a team to establish or guarantee elections, taxation, education, water provision, or perform similar functions.

• Civil protection that would assist humanitarian efforts in emergency and other operations and would require that the EU be capable, within three to seven hours, of providing two to three assessment teams consisting of ten experts as well as intervention teams consisting of 5,000 people.

The military and the civilian coordination processes are driven by requirements for guaranteed availability, rapid deployment and usability of European military and civilian police forces in various roles. The EU Petersberg tasks include the entire spectrum of military operations – humanitarian operations, traditional peacekeeping, crisis management, and combat operations. Peace enforcement is focusing on the threat or use of military force, in pursuit of peaceful objectives, in response to conicts or other major security crisis. The classic case is a UN authorized military response to cross-border aggression by one state against another, as with the Gulf War in 1991.

This transformation of European armed forces is strongly backed by European citizens and requests (from traditional territorial defense concepts to the concept of expeditionary forces), and concentrates on:

• The pooling of resources, the harmonization of military needs and multinational cooperation in specic capabilities projects or for deployment; improvement of C4ISTAR, lifting and logistics, through pooled national assets. C4: Command and Control plus Computers and Communications; I: Intelligence; STA: Strategic Acquisitions; R: Reconnaissance.

• Specialization in the EU and NATO framework to reach a closer and permanent structured cooperation.

• Increasing and restructuring defense budget (goal: defense spending: 2 percents of GDP).

The EU member states decided to reinforce military capabilities by developing the Union’s new military capabilities objective, the “Headline Goal 2010,” to set new requirements for rapid deployment, sustainability, and interoperability by developing criteria and standards for measuring improvements in this eld. On May 17, 2004, during the Irish EU presidency, EU defense ministers also approved proposals by the High Representative of the Common Security and Defense Policy of the EU, Javier Solana, concerning the realization of the concept for rapidly deployable battle groups. From 2007 onwards, these forces –thirteen military units each comprising 1,500 troops and deployable within 10 days, able to stay on the ground for maximum 120 days – should be available for deployment to crisis areas outside Europe. The battle groups are planned to be deployed to crisis situations as far as 6,000 kilometers away from Brussels. Strong contingents would be deployable within ten days and able to stay on the ground for a few months in response to a UN request. Austria supports this concept, although the Austrian governmental members to the European Convention proposed to establish by the end of 2003 “a permanently available, immediately deployable special unit equipped with highly modern equipment” comprising 3,000 to 5,000 troops and recruited from specialized forces.[8] Austria will participate with 200 soldiers to one battle group by 2011, which will also consist of soldiers from Germany (950) and the Czech Republic (350).

Austria participates on most of the EU missions and some of the NATO-led missions, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina (270 soldiers) and in Kosovo (600 soldiers). Austria has been deploying troops to Bosnia and Herzegovina since early 1996 and to Kosovo since autumn 1999. In 2002, Austria provided about 75 members of personnel in support of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Two years later, ten staff ofcers were deployed to Kabul. During the Election Support Operation in Afghanistan in autumn 2005, Austria deployed 95 infantry soldiers to operate in support of the Provincial Reconstruction Team Kunduz. Since 1974, Austrian troops have been serving on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria. Within this United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, about 350 Austrian soldiers are now stationed on the Golan Heights.

For Austria, international crisis management contains the following scenarios:

• Conict prevention (CP),

• Separation of parties by force (SOPF),

• Steady state (SS).

The EU dened the length of CP and SOPF scenarios as lasting eight to twelve months. During military operations, there is an increasing demand to minimize casualties and collateral damage during peace support operations. This element is based on many factors, which include the intrusiveness of the media, low tolerance of risk for overseas intervention, and high regard for life in modern democracies.[9]

Since 2003, EU heads of states and governments have been focusing on increasing civilian-military coordination (CIMIC) during post conict rehabilitation. In 2004, the EU has established a CIMIC cell within the EU Military Staff in Brussels. The primary aim is to reach interoperability between military and civilian institutions in order to rebuild infrastructure and support in the case of post conict rehabilitation. This civilian military cooperation comprises the following three areas of activities:

• Provide support for civilian organizations and civilian environment through planning, coordinating, and support measures taken by civilian organizations;

• Provide support for deployed military forces by using the whole spectrum of civilian resources, in order to fulll the military mission in coordination with the local decision makers; and

• Provide support for civilian economy-oriented institutions – e.g. construction of local infrastructure.


Austria’s security is indivisibly bound up with the security of the European Union. Security policy in Austria today continues along the lines of pragmatic neutrality by participating in EU Petersberg and NATO Partnership for Peace tasks. These tasks focus on command and control, development of interoperability with NATO, host nation support and enhancement of capabilities. The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council provides the opportunity for Austria, as a non-NATO member, to take part in NATO’s consultative process.

Austria as a member of EU has pivotal interests in integrating Central, Eastern and Southeastern European states into Euro-Atlantic political, economic, and security structures. Therefore, Austria principally provides joining international military and police operations in the Balkans.

An appropriate military strategy would focus less on large, low probability wars and hypothetical future threats, and focus more on stability and peace operations. Austria therefore supports enhancing the capacity of the U.N. and associated regional organizations when standing up well-trained, rapidly deployable, sustainable military and police units for peace operations. Austrian troops have been involved in UN peace support operations since 1960. In 2006, about 1,300 troops were active in 13 peacekeeping operations, mostly in southeast Europe (about 800) and on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria (370). Since 1960, about 60,000 Austrian troops participated in sixty international peacekeeping operations. Since 1995, Austria has been a host nation for multinational troops crossing the country for peace support operations in southeast Europe. Within ten years, Austria had been crossed by approximately 160,000 international troops in about 70,000 transports, and more than 200,000 international military aircraft.[10] These facts demonstrate that Austria, while maintaining a form of neutrality, is not taking a free ride.

NATO membership did not enjoy high popularity in Austria. Till the U.S.-led war on Iraq in spring 2003, only small parts of the Österreichische Volkspartei (Conservative Party) and the Freiheitliche Partei (Freedom Party) voiced their support for NATO membership. Since this U.S.-led invasion, all political parties agreed on neutrality as the principal security concept for Austria. In 2003, the EU ofcially had no union-wide position dealing with war on Iraq, and member states were split. Austria declared a neutral standpoint, because the UN Security Council had not mandated this U.S.-led war. Austria therefore implored as the Presidency´s Statement on Iraq, given in Athens on 16 April 2003, the UN to “play a central role including in the process leading towards self-government for the Iraqi people, utilising its unique capacity and experience in post-conict nation building”.[11]

Neutrality still enjoys high popularity among the Austrian population. According to various polls more than two thirds of Austrians still favor neutrality. To lift neutrality a qualied parliamentary majority is needed. Majority of the Austrian population also agree with a deep integration of Austrian Armed Forces into the Euro-Atlantic security process. The Austrian Armed Forces Reform Commission Report that was published in June 2004 guides the process of adapting Austrian forces to European operation standards.

Necessary emphasis should also be put on non-military security instruments when strengthening multilateral security institutions and the cooperation among them. Austria therefore strongly supports the EU on the way of enhancing conict prevention as an essential part of its external policy. Conict prevention means preventing the initial outbreak of violence, also its escalation and its later recurrence. For Austria, the EU is the best existing example of comprehensive democratic security cooperation and coordination among states. In 1994, Austrian population decided in a referendum to become part of this unique European peace community that promotes security among member states and their citizens.

[1] BUNDESHEERREFORMKOMMISSION, Bericht der Bundesheerreformkommission – Bundesheer 2010, Vienna 2004.

[2] HAM, Peter van, Europe’s New Defense Ambitions: Implications for NATO, the U.S., and Russia, The Marshall Center Papers No 1 (ISBN 1-930831-00-5).

[3] HAUSER, Gunther, Österreich – dauernd neutral?, Vienna: Wilhelm Braumüller Publishers, 2002 (ISBN 3-7003-1421-3).

[4] HAUSER, Gunther, ESDP and Austria: Security Policy between Engagement and Neutrality, in: BISCHOF, Günter, PELINKA, Anton, GEHLER, Michael (Eds.), Austrian Foreign Policy in Historical Context, Contemporary Austrian Studies, Volume No. 14, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers 2005, pp. 207—245 (ISBN 1-4128-0521-X).

[5] LUTTWAK, Edward, Where are the Great Powers?, Foreign Affairs 73, no. 4 (July/August 1994), pp. 23—28.

[6] NAEGELE, Jolyon, Russia: Austria’ s Neutral Status Resurfaces With Putin Visit, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty,
n.d. (11 November 2004).

[7] NATO, Washington Summit Communique, issued by the heads of state and government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, Paragraph 9a, Press Release NAC-S(99)64, April 24, 1999.

1. Peter van Ham, “Europe’s New Defense Ambitions: Implications for NATO, the U.S., and Russia,” The Marshall Center Papers No 1, p. 6.

2. Ibid, p. 5.

3. Washington Summit Communique, issued by the heads of state and government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, Paragraph 9a, Press Release NAC-S(99)64, April 24, 1999.

4. Heinz Fischer, “Neutralitaet bewahren,” SPOE Steiermark, April 22, 2004, Press Release of the Social Democrat Party of Austria, printed on November 11, 2004.

5. These tasks are named after the Petersberg, a conference center close to Bonn/Germany where these tasks were concluded by the Western European Union in 1992. In 1997, these became part of the EU Treaty of Amsterdam, Article 17(2).

6. “Putin ‘rates’ Austrian neutrality,”, 8 February 2001, n. d. (11 November 2004).

7. Jolyon Naegele, “Russia: Austria’ s Neutral Status Resurfaces With Putin Visit,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,
n.d. (11 November 2004).

8. Conribution by Messrs. Hannes Farnleitner and Reinhard E. Boesch, members of the Convention: “A New Impetus to the European Security and Defense Policy,” CONV 437/02, Brussels, November 28, 2002, p. 4.

9. Edward Luttwak, “Where are the Great Powers?”, Foreign Affairs 73, no. 4 (July/August 1994), pp. 23—28.

10. Source: Austrian Ministry of Defense.

11. Gunther Hauser: ESDP and Austria: Security Policy between Engagement and Neutrality, in: Günter Bischof, Anton Pelinka, Michael Gehler (Eds.), Austrian Foreign Policy in Historical Context, Contemporary Austrian Studies, Volume No. 14, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, New Jersey 2005, pp. 207—245.

Created 20.7.2007 8:16:19 | read 17723x | Frank


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