Edited by Brigitte Unger and Daan van der Linde
Chapter 12: The role of small states for financial market integrity: Austria
Austria lies at the heart of central Europe, has a size of roughly 84,000 km_ and a population of some 8.42 million inhabitants. In this regard, Austria is among the medium-range member countries of the European Union. Austria is a parliamentary republic that consists of nine provinces. Its economy is dominated by the service sector, with the Austrian GDP totaling €300,241 million on December 31, 2011, which translates into roughly€35,700 in terms of GDP per capita. At the end of 2011, a total of 824 credit institutions with more than 5,200 banking offices were operating in Austria. Between them, they held assets worth approximately €1,014.28 billion. Austria has, for historical reasons, typically had close ties with Central, Eastern and Southern Europe countries (CESEE). Before the fall of the Iron Curtain, the country served as a neutral hub between the east and the west of Europe. This role became obsolete as the Iron Curtain was dismantled and many CESEE economies joined the EU as well. Still, the degree of economic integration continues to be high, and Austrian companies, above all financial sector companies, have been highly active in the CESEE area.
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