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Przegląd Zachodni

Austria: coming to terms with the past and rising to new challenges

Austria: coming to terms with the past and rising to new challenges
  • Binding: paperback
  • Author: collective work
  • Publisher: Instytut Zachodni
  • PL ISSN: 0033-2437
  • Publication date: 29 July 2022
  • Number: 1/2022
  • Number of pages: 216
  • Size: A5

Austria, a country that readily brings to mind the music of the Strausses and the snow-covered slopes of Tyrol, appears to be relegated to the sidelines of Europe despite its central geographic location. However, this general impression is contradicted by both the history of this country (which centuries ago heavily influenced the fates of nearly the entire continent, and which in recent decades has assumed an important role in reconciling the East and the West and arduously building European unity) and the contemporary standing of this state advanced aptly by playing to its strengths. Austria’s significance has also been demonstrated by strong interest on the part of prospective authors in preparation of this edition of Przegląd Zachodni that focuses on the country’s coming to terms with its past and facing up to new challenges which have grown more serious as of late.

The failure of the post-war denazification and the debatable nature of political compromises from decades past are being reassessed by successive generations. As the contextual lens through which history is being assessed changes, so do current attitudes and political programs. What distinguishes today’s identity of Austria in the European Union is not merely the nuanced idiosyncrasies of the variety of the German language spoken along the Danube. Austria’s bilateral relations with other countries, many of them quite distant, prove that innovation and consistency in adhering to one’s commitments make for effective diplomacy, help the economy flourish, and contribute to the advancement of culture, also political. Austria has successfully maintained its commitment to remaining a neutral state, combining it with the advantages of European Union membership. What stands out are programs and political practices that rely on public confidence and care for democratic decision-making and efficient administration, all of which define the domestic governance of the Republic of Austria and are emphasized in its EU policy that is strongly supportive and yet levelheadedly guarded in dealing with Community structures and programs.

the Institute for Western Affairs in Poznan

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