Austrian Security and Foreign Politics and Regional Military Co-operation

  • Vladimír Handl


The article looks into Austrian attitude to security co-operation in Central Europe. Austria has arrived at a very flexible definition of its neutrality concept. The recent security and defence doctrine (2001) describes Austria not as a neutral but as a "non-allied state". In has introduced the principle of "European solidarity" in the Austrian security policy. The neutrality, however, remains to be a sensitive political issue, which splits the Austrian society. The regional partnership has created a new regional platform, which has produced positive results in several policy sectors. At the same time, the real political potential of the co-operation has yet to be seen, mainly in the course of the EU-enlargement. The security dimension of regional co-operation has developed with some dynamism. It testified willingness and ability of the military and experts to work with regional partners. Nonetheless, the co-operation has remained largely low-key. The reasons are, firstly, that the prioritising of the orientation of Austria to the West prevented Vienna from an active regional policy for most of the 1990s. Secondly, and in the long run even more crucially, the non-allied status of Austria hampers the security co-operation in the most crucial areas: defence, sharing of sensitive information, sharing and thus cutting the costs of rearmament and modernisation of the armed forces and of the defence infrastructure.

Author Biography

Vladimír Handl