Austria’s Economic Relations with the EU Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia


Vasily Astrov

wiiw Policy Note/Policy Report No. 81, June 2024
24 pages including 1 Table, 9 Figures and 1 Box

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The dynamics of Austria’s economic relations with the EU Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – and with Russia have deviated from those of the EU in several important ways. During the decade preceding the war in Ukraine, Austrian trade with the region generally developed less dynamically than EU trade, as trade with countries that did not sign Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) with the EU – unsurprisingly –underperformed. However, Austrian investments in Russia have shown greater resilience than EU investments, especially since the start of the war in Ukraine. Austria ranks third from bottom among EU member states for the share of companies that have completely withdrawn from Russia or are in the process of doing so, probably explaining in part why its exports to Russia have suffered much less than EU exports. In addition, chemicals, including pharmaceuticals, which have been little affected by sanctions, account for a large share of Austrian exports. Also, unlike the EU, Austria’s dependence on Russian natural gas remains high, partly for geographical reasons and also because of contractual obligations between Austria’s ÖMV and Russia’s Gazprom. Austria would be well advised to build on its record of economic involvement in the EaP region and capitalise on the new opportunities offered by the improved EU accession prospects of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.


Reference to wiiw databases: wiiw FDI Database

Keywords: EU Eastern Partnership countries, Austria, EU, trade, investment, gas dependence

JEL classification: F14, F21, Q40

Countries covered: Austria, EU, EU Eastern Partnership countries, Russia

Research Areas: International Trade, Competitiveness and FDI