Austria exposed to 'serious dangers', minister warns

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 17 Jan, 2023 Updated Tue 17 Jan 2023 15:36 CEST
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Austria faces "serious dangers" the defense ministry has warned. Photo: Austrian army soldiers walk near the red carpet at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, official residence of the Austrian President, before a welcoming ceremony on November 21, 2013. (Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP)

Austria’s Defence Ministry said it can’t conceal” the fact that the country is “exposed to serious dangers”, including an attack on federal territory.

“We cannot rule out attacks with long-range weapons against federal territory”, said Major General Bruno Hofbauer at a joint expert meeting with military representatives on Monday.

The meeting was a preamble to the presentation of the military’s most recent security report, set to be published on January 27th, the newspaper Der Standard reported.

In it, the Ministry wrote: “The war in and around Europe also makes clear that a well-positioned national defence is of existential importance for a neutral state.

"In addition to hybrid threats, conventional warfare has now regained importance. Consequently, a return to the military protection of Austrian sovereignty against conventionally acting forces is required. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why isn’t Austria in NATO?

“This also requires a consolidation of the robust military components. Comprehensive national defence, which has constitutional status, must regain importance as a core task for the entire state and be further developed in line with the new challenges.”

Present challenges

In addition to a confrontation between Russia and the EU, an escalation of the Ukraine conflict and migration flows to Austria, Austria's "limited strategic capability" is considered to be a particularly great challenge at present.This also regarding possible competition among EU states for scarce resources, the report added.

A worst case scenario would see "Austria's territory, military facilities and infrastructure infiltrated, misappropriated - and vulnerabilities targeted". The report added that foreign powers could then use the country as a gateway into the systems and structures of other EU states.

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