Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and EnergyBrigitte Zypries today met with the Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economy Reinhold Mitterlehner. The discussion focused on current economic and energy policy issues.
Economic Affairs Minister Zypries said: “Germany and Austria are not only neighbouring countries whose economies are closely intertwined. I appreciate our regular exchange. It is the basis for our good cooperation which is important in view of the current challenges facing the European Union. At the EU level, we will work to strengthen our small and medium-sized enterprises and to maintain our successful and the Master Craftman’s certificate. As far as the energy sector is concerned, we have constructive discussions on the subject of the electricity price zone but they are still ongoing.”
Vice-Chancellor Mitterlehner emphasised the traditionally good neighbourly relations and likewise expressed his intention to join forces to support medium-sized businesses and the vocational training system at European level: “We need more recognition and respect for small and medium-sized businesses at EU level. Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of our economy. The training of apprentices in Germany and Austria is recognised all over the world.” Another important topic of the discussion was the German-Austrian electricity price zone. “We are conducting constructive discussions to find a good solution in the interest of both countries,” said Mitterlehner. He furthermore reaffirmed Austria’s position on the topic of employment bonuses. “In introducing the job bonus, we are seeking to reduce unemployment in Austria and relieve the burden on domestic companies while making sure that the bonus is in line with the relevant legal requirements”, Mitterlehner continued to say.
Germany and Austria as neighbouring countries enjoy particularly close and trusting political and economic relations. Bilateral trade reached EUR 98.4 billion in 2016. Imports to Germany from Austria amounted to EUR 38.6 billion (+ 3.5% yoy). German exports to Austria amounted to EUR 59.8 billion (+ 2.7% yoy). German investment in Austria is worth approx. EUR 32.3 billion, while Austrian investment in Germany stands at approx. EUR 23.2 billion.