A study in ambivalence: Austria and European integration 1945-95

Michael Gehler, Wolfram Kaiser

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Analysing Austria's role in contemporary European history in a comparative perspective, this article explains why Austria's policy towards the process of European integration oscillated between the two poles of neutrality and integration. Perpetual neutrality was initially the price Austria paid in 1955 to safeguard its territorial integrity and regain its sovereignty. However, the European strategy of neutrality and EFTA membership developed crucial secondary functions during the 1960s and 1970s, most importantly to rationalise Austria's non-membership of the EEC and its distance from the Federal Republic of Germany in order to sustain the Austrian nation-building process. It is argued here that Austria's accession to the EU in 1995 marks most of all a shift towards a different political strategy of a small European state to secure its economic interests and enhance its political influence in an ever more interdependent Europe, with considerable domestic repercussions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-99
    Number of pages25
    JournalContemporary European History
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1997


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