Major beneficiary of the new Europe
Austria was long Germany’s little brother, not only
geographically but also in economic terms. Today
Germany is Austria’s largest trading partner by far, and
a total of over 40 per cent of Austria’s imports stem
from its northwestern neighbour.22 Germans were long
far more prosperous than Austrians. In the 1960s the
country’s per capita GDP was only roughly four fifths of
But times have changed. Today Austria’s per capita
income is higher than Germany’s. Austria has not only
made faster and more thorough progress on reforms,
it has also benefited far more than Germany from the
end of communism and the opening of eastern Europe.
Today Germans no longer come only as tourists, they
have also become Austria’s largest group of immigrants.
Between 2004 and 2006 a net total of 36,000
Germans moved to Austria, that is, 28 per cent of all
emigrants to Austria — more than those from Poland,
Slovakia, and Hungary together. What attracts them is
a flourishing economy, higher wages, and lower taxes
than in Germany.
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