Austria: 2030

When one thinks of Austria, often highly mountainous terrain, schnitzel, and maybe even Mozart may come to mind. The country has a rich history in terms of culture, and over the past several decades has developed into one of the richest countries in the world. With a GDP per capita of  $52,216 and a ranking as the 21st highest standard of living according to the Human Development Index, one might find it absurd to ever imagine the country facing hardship. However, underneath the economic prosperity lies all sorts of social and political barriers that may greatly shift the bright future Austria currently displays to the rest of the world. In order to position itself as a worthy contender in 2030, Austria needs the attention of the rest of the world, right now, in 2015.

Financial Crisis

In 1855, the failure of the Viennese bank arguably sparked the Great Depression, resulting in the bankruptcy of several institutions across Europe and North America. Now, the Austrian government faces similar financial issues. Essentially, the government is through with funding bank losses, and instead has plans to "bail-in" creditors for approximately 7.6 billion euros. Due to the decision to let the region crumble, the question of bankruptcy for all of Carinthia remains unanswered. "In Hypo’s case, the bail-in also threatens knock-on consequences for public bodies elsewhere, including Bayern Landesbank, a big holder of Hypo bonds which is owned by the German state of Bavaria, and the Munich based FMSW, which is again publicly underwritten. All this is just the tip of the iceberg; Europe is awash with interlinked banking and public liabilities, many of which will never be repaid and basically need to be written off. Massive creditor losses are in prospect. The European authorities had us all half convinced that Europe’s debt crisis was over. In truth, it may have barely begun" (1).

The results of an acid rain storm on Austrian forests.

Environmental Troubles

Considering Austria's wealth of natural beauty, it is not a stretch to imagine the excess amount of tourism that takes place within the country. In fact, according to the Foreign Ministry, tourism makes up for 67% of Austrian GDP and reels in approximately $21.8 billion each year, making it one of the top earners in the world(3). Of course, increased tourism also means increased usage of transportation and other resources which cause great harm to the environment. Now, the country faces a multitude of issues which could stunt growth over the next couple decades.

Being located relatively close to Chernobyl, Austria has been a victim of high acid rain over the past few years, causing a great deal of harm to the country's forest and wildlife. Also, the impact of climate change has demonstrated that the French Alps may cease to exist by the year 2050. However, at the same time, unseasoned weather has been greatly affecting flora and fauna in the country.

Austrian Parliament Building

Political Stirs

Although the days of the Nazi empire are long gone, their presence still lurks under the surface in Austria. This is especially evident through the rise of a new political party. In recent years, the radical right group known as the Freedom Party of Austria has proven itself a well-established contender in the country's votes, attaining 17.5% of the country's approval in 2008. "Both the Freedom Party and the Alliance for the Future of Austria advocate for anti-immigration legislation and the expulsion of non-Austrian criminals from the country. These views are a cause of worry for the European Union, who see these things as a danger to the peace and the collaboration of European countries. As well, the European Union fears that these two parties may merge, forming a political party that may be able to take the presidency of Austria. However, what the international community fears more than anything about the two right-wing parties is their support of the Nazi party. Former Freedom Party leader, Joerg Haider, has been quoted numerous times calling Nazi soldiers victims and worthy of public honor. (4)"

Austrian flag

While the future of Austria may appear prosperous and free of hardship, one cannot ignore the influx of difficulties taking place on a more local level. High pollution, high debt, and high political tensions combined may prove to be a toxic situation in 2030. In order to have the best possible future, Austria needs the global support of other nations in order to tackle these barriers, allowing for a bright, optimistic future.

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