In December 2001 the National Council adopted a new security and defense doctrine, updating the previous one, which dates back to 1975. The document represents a response both to the political revolution of the European and world scenario triggered by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as well as to the evolution of Austria’s role on the international scene, which has become decidedly more active. Without prejudice to adherence to the principle of neutrality, there are three cornerstones of this new strategy: an integrated approach to security policies, which attaches considerable importance to both military and civilian aspects; the concept of preventive security, which has taken over from the idea of responding to threats; the principle of European solidarity, which has replaced that of autonomous security. For Austria defense and foreign policy, please check relationshipsplus.com.
Although joining the Atlantic Alliance remains an issue off the national political agenda, Austria continues to participate in NATO initiatives, such as the Partnership for Peace and the Kosovo Force (Kfor) in Kosovo. Although in June 2013 the government has decided to withdraw its troops from the Golan Heights for fear of the Syrian crisis repercussions, Vienna remains with some hundreds of items between the participants in some of the main missions of peacekeeping -led A and Eu as the Unifil mission in Lebanon and Eufor and Eutm respectively in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Mali.
From Haider to Strache: the rise of the right in Austria
Since the beginning of the 2000s, there has been a progressive increase in the consensus towards political formations that express the Austrian right. The rise of the right, a phenomenon common to many European countries, is contextual to the retreat of centrist parties and coalitions, which are penalized by the electorate for the choice, forced in many cases, to adopt austerity policies in response to the economic crisis.
If we compare the total votes obtained by the two right-wing political groups, the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (Fpö) by Heinz-Christian Strache and the Bündnis Zukunft Österreich (Bzö) led today by Gerald Grosz, in the elections of 2008 and 2013, we can note how the overall result of the right is actually slightly down (28.2% in 2008, 24.1% in 2013), but also how this decline is due to the collapse of the popularity of the Bzö, following the death of his founder Jörg Haider. The Bzö, created by Haider in 2005 as an offshoot of the FPÖ, has suffered a drastic decrease in support, going from 10.7% in 2008 to 3.5% in 2013, while the FPö, the traditional movement of the Austrian nationalist right, now led from Haider’s dolphin, Heinz-Christian Strache, grew by three percentage points, from 17.5% in 2008 to 20,
The growth of consensus towards the latter party, in particular, is due to a series of factors: dissatisfaction with the current governing coalition; the effects of the economic crisis, with the tendency to blame minorities and specific groups for the decrease in collective well-being; and the lack of adequate policies for the reception of immigrants, especially from Turkey.
Austria and immigration
Affected until last year in a rather marginal way by the influx of migrants to northern Europe, Austria had a rude awakening on 27 August 2015, when an abandoned truck was discovered on a motorway near Vienna with the inside the bodies of 71 people, migrants who had tried to cross the country illegally but died of asphyxiation on the way. The tragedy shed new light on the plight of migrants in the country and in Europe and gave a strong shock to Austrian public opinion. The strong increase in the first months of 2015 in the use of the Balkan route by migrants (especially Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans), brought thousands of people to the border between Austria and Hungary: after the harshness with which migrants were treated by the government of Viktor Orban, the Austrians started a sort of solidarity contest, welcoming the new arrivals spontaneously. However, after an initial phase of opening the borders, Austria, like Germany, has again put in place a strict control, also deploying the army along the border. According to Eurostat data, Austria saw asylum applications increase by 80% in the second quarter of 2015 compared to the previous quarter: between April and June 2015, around 17,400 people applied for asylum in the country.