Twenty years in the EU ‘a success story’

Twenty years in the EU 'a success story'
Johannes Hahn. Photo: EU
EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn of Austria, says that Austria's EU accession was a "success story".

He was speaking on Thursday, June 12, exactly 20 years after the Austrian people voted in favour of EU membership. Austria joined the Union on January 1st, 1995.

Austria benefitted economically from its accession, said Hahn. A study by the economic think tank Wifo showed that export to other EU countries almost tripled.

Direct investments outside of Austria also shot up, from 8.6 billion in 1995 to 166 billion in 2012. Austria had access to all EU programmes for investments and other enterprises, said Hahn. These included the more than 60,000 students who took part in the ERASMUS student exchange programmes.

Finally, Austria was actively involved in the organisation of the EU, said the Commissioner. In some areas, it was even a role model. One example was the education system, which contributed largely to Austria's low unemployment rate – the lowest in the EU, said Hahn.

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