Austria exposed to 'serious dangers', minister warns
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.”
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.