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Der Euro in Europa - Österreich

Österreich - Austria

Austria

Growth
Austria is going through its worst economic growth phase for more than a decade. Growth in 2002 was 0.75 percent, compared with an average of 2 percent from 1993 to 1998. The Commission has said that “economic performance is very weak in line with international developments”.

Jobs
Unemployment has been growing since Austria joined the euro. Austrian unemployment was 4.9 percent in 2001, 5.6 percent in 2002 and is predicted to rise to 5.7 percent in 2003 (OECD).

Public opinion
A survey of 1000 people by research institute Spectra (August 2002) showed that 84 percent of people dislike the euro, compared to 76 percent who disliked it in February 2002. 85 percent of people thought that prices had gone up since the introduction of the euro compared to 74 percent in February.

Spending cuts
Austria is implementing spending cuts to adhere to the Stability and Growth Pact. In August the Austrian Finance Minister wrote to cabinet ministers asking them to cut budgets by up to 5 percent to stop the deficit running out of control. The cuts amount to €3 billion overall. A planned tax cut for 2002 was shelved and consumption taxes were put up. Austrian government debt is 63.2 percent of GDP.

Price rises
Rounding up is particularly prevalent in Austria due to the Austrian Schilling / euro exchange rate. Consumer associations have registered thousands of complaints of price rises, with some examples of prices going up by as much as 158 percent.

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