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October 27, 2011

Austria’s Permanent Neutrality Celebrated in Style

The Austrian Consulate General together with the Austrian Trade Commission in Chicago put on quite an evening October 26 at the Knickerbocker Hotel for about 300 guests. Authentic Austrian Zweigelt and Grüner Veltliner wines from Wein Bauer as well as Stiegl beer were featured along with delicious coffee from Julius Meinl and scrumptious strudel and bite-size Sacher Torte from the Austrian Bakery. Ms. Julia Bentley, Mezzo-Soprano, sang Berg, Eisler and Mahler accompanied on piano by Mr. Kuang-Hao Huang.

Why Oct. 26?
The celebration of the 26th of October as the Austrian National Day goes back to the beginnings of the 2nd Austrian Republic after the Second World War in 1955. After the end of the War, Austria was occupied by the four Allied powers (Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain and France) and accordingly divided into four zones. With their consent an Austrian government was elected democratically, but all legislative regulations or political actions required their consent. October 26 marks the day that followed the departure of the last foreign troops fromAustrian territory; therefore de facto the first day Austria was again an independent and sovereign country. As the status of permanent neutrality was the condition upon which the former Soviet Union had agreed to the signing of the State Treaty, the Austrian Parliament also chose this very special day to pass the law on permanent neutrality to mark the fact that it was making a unilateral and independent decision.

Austria today: “Surprisingly ingenious”
Austria has many reasons to be proud of its achievements since 1955. Austria is still a “cultural powerhouse.” Its capital Vienna is often ranked as one of the cities with the highest quality of living worldwide. Not everyone knows, however, that Austrian companies are important global players in important niches and are trusted business partners.

As the US Commercial Service in Vienna note in its “COUNTRY COMMERCIAL GUIDE 2011:" “To overlook Austria would be to overlook one of the world‘s most prosperous nations (on a per capita basis). Doing business in and from Austria presents certain advantages. First, Austria is at an international crossroad, bordering eight European countries: Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Liechtenstein. A second advantage for Austria is its well-diversified and relatively resilient economy. A third plus for Austria is its membership in the EU. A fourth advantage Austria offers is that the United States is its sixth largest trading partner and its second largest trading partner outside of Europe."

The evening’s success was due in large part to the generosity of the many sponsors from the Austrian/American business community:

- AVL North America
- Austrian Bakery
- Bachmann Electronic Corp.
- Bauer Group
- Berndorf Belt Technology
- Cargo Partner Network, Inc.
- Citibank
- Constantia Flexibles
- DB Schenker
- DHL Global Forwarding
- Fronius USA, LLC
- J. S. Richter Ltd., Certified Public Accountants
- Julius Meinl
- Lufthansa
- PEWAG – The World’s Strongest Chain
- Pollmann North America, Inc.
- RB International Finance USA
- Stiegl – Louis Glunz Beer, Inc.
- Thiedmann & Edler
- Wein Bauer
- Weiss-Röhlig