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OECD praise for Austria

Austria OECD © photocase.com/apfelholz

© photocase.com/apfelholz

July 25, 2011

Austria is among the strongest of the OECD economies

Austria has weathered the crisis better than other nations, while maintaining a high degree of social cohesion. But to secure its place in the Champions League of OECD economies, far-reaching reforms in education, healthcare, the pension system and the social sector have to be carried out. This conclusion was drawn by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its “Economic Survey of Austria” presented in Vienna on July 11, 2011. Emphasis should be placed on switching the tax burden from labor and entrepreneurship towards property, explained OECD Secretary General Ángel Gurría.

Austria’s economic position is very sound: Unemployment (4.4% in the first quarter of 2011) was considerably below the average of most OECD countries. “Youth and long-term unemployment figures were also very low in Austria”, Gurría hailed Austria’s good labor market situation. Among the reasons mentioned by Gurría were the extensive social partnership, the highly-skilled and motivated labor force, Austria’s export sector and investments for growth. Austria could, however, lose its position among the strongest OECD countries unless reforms are pushed forward, such as raising the retirement age and reducing the tax burden on labor and entrepreneurship, warned the OECD. The survey also acknowledges the good quality of the healthcare sector as well as the easy and equitable access to healthcare services, while criticizing the fragmentation of responsibilities – among the federal government, provincial governments, and social insurance institutions – and the lack of coordination.

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