Full text: Beschäftigungspolitik (72)

16
Countries") and in the "Positionspapier zu ausgesuchten Themen rund um die
Regierungskonferenz 1996" ("Position Paper on Selected Topics Relating to
the 1996 Intergovemmental Conference") (chapter Opening of the Eastem
countries).
The public generally regards the effects of the opening of Eastem Europe
too negatively: The relocation of individual production facitities to Eastem
Europe is generally in the foreground, while the increase of the Austrian ex-
ports to Eastem Europe does not receive proper attention. Since the opening of
Eastem Europe the balance of trade with Eastem Europe has increased by over
10 billion Austrian Schilling. Oue to that fact, employrnent in Austria has in-
creased, even if mainly labour-intensive production has been relocated. Pres-
sure on prices, however, hardened non-measurable structural labour market
problems. In addition, Austria's geographical position causes a drain on pur-
chasing power which in turn negatively affects employment particularly in the
areas e10se to the national border. The overall effect of the opening of Eastem
Europe on Austria's employment situation can therefore not be exactly quanti-
fied.
In the case of accession of the Eastem neighbouring countries to the EU,
Austria would face the additional problem of free immigration from Eastem
Europe. A completely free labour market (commuter and passenger trafiic)
would above aH affect those regions e10se to the border with Eastem Europe
which already have a high unemployment rate today. Similar applies to the
sector of cross-border services. The social partners, therefore, stress the ne-
cessity of only gradually implementing the free movement of labour with rela-
tively 10ng transitional periods and relevant safeguard e1auses in case of ac-
cession by Central and Eastem European countries. Under the present condi-
tions the free access to the Austrian labour and services market for citizens of
Central and Eastem European countries thus seems difficult to be realized in
the forseeable future.
1.8. EU-Membership
EU membership has increased Austria's attractiveness as an industrial loca-
tion - as expected by the Social Partners in their study on Austria's competi-
tive position. The improvement of Austria's quality as a location is already re-
flected in the increasing net exports and in the investment plans of multina-
tional concems; but its full effects will only be feit in the longer run.
In the starting phase the effects on the labour market, however, were mainly
negative. Rationalization waves swept particularly through those branches that
were suddenly fully incorporated into the integration process, i.e. the food in-
dustry and some service sectors (in particular trade, transportation). Rationali-
zation investments are also planned for the energy, telecom and financial
services sectors. If necessary, industry specific transitional support measures,
similar to those in the food industry ("AUFLEB"), might then be advisable
also for these sectors.
        

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