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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Austria

Relations are close and cover many areas beginning with human and cultural relations, cross-border cooperation as well as flourishing trade relations.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Relations between Switzerland and Austria are traditionally close, with frequent exchanges of visits at all levels. Both countries hold regular talks with Liechtenstein and Germany for the purpose of policy coordination. They also work together at the multilateral level, e.g. in the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe.

In accordance with a long standing tradition the first official visit by the Presidents and Foreign Ministers of Switzerland and Austria are to each other’s capitals.

Economic cooperation

In 2012 the volume of trade amounted to CHF 13.9 billion. Switzerland has a regular trade deficit with Austria, which in 2011 amounted to CHF 1.3 billion.

Switzerland is one of the most important investors in Austria. The total amount of investments by Swiss firms was CHF 9.7bn at the end of 2011, with about 41,000 local employees. Since 2000 Austrian direct investments in the Confederation have increased significantly, amounting at the end of 2011 to CHF 68.1 billion. This has given jobs to 17,300 persons, mainly in the industrial sector.

Cooperation in the field of education

Many Swiss professors teach at Austrian universities and many young Swiss pursue art studies in Austria. In 2010 there were 970 Austrians studying in Switzerland, and 871 Swiss studying in Austria.

Scholars and artists from Austria can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI). Various foundations and private institutions also offer scholarships to Austrian students.

Swiss living in Austria

In 2012 there were 14,795 Swiss citizens living in Austria.

Cultural exchanges

The Confederation promotes the presence of Swiss artists in all areas of the Austrian cultural scene. The diplomatic representations and cultural institutes of both countries work closely together. There are frequent discussions of cultural affairs at the level of government. Contacts between Swiss and Austrian cultural operators have given a new dynamic to the Swiss cultural scene.

History of bilateral relations

Switzerland gave official recognition to the Republic of Austria on 2.1.1945. Diplomatic representations were opened in the two following years.