The Austrian economy has benefited significantly from South East Europe's progressing EU integration, in particular thanks to traditional trade relations and timely entry into these markets. For this reason, Austria has become so deeply intertwined with the region as no other Member State of the Union and grown a key economic partner and top investor there.
Austria's trade volume with South East Europe reached a value of € 5.3 bn in 2017, which marks the peak of the last 5 years. Austrian exports to the region increased by 3 percent compared to the previous year, totalling € 2.3 bn, and Austrian imports from the region of € 2.4 bn also achieved a clear plus of more than 5 percent.
Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are Austria's major foreign trading partners in the South East European region. More than half of Austria´s trade with Southeast Europe is handled with Turkey; the shares of Serbia as well as Bosnia and Herzegowina are 22 percent and 18 percent respectively.
Concerning foreign direct investment, Austria is among the top investors in South East Europe with a total investment of € 6.6 bn in the region (number one in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and now also in Macedonia). Despite a decline in investments, Turkey remains an important target market for Austrian direct investment with a total investment volume of € 1.7 bn in 2017.
With regard to the six countries of the Western Balkans, the Berlin-Process marked the launch of yet another initiative in support of the enlargement process, political and economic reforms, regional cooperation and connectivity. The infrastructure projects for the expansion of transport and energy networks in the region that were approved during the Western Balkans Summits in Vienna 2015, Paris 2016 and Trieste 2017 will generate additional growth impetus for the Austrian economy. Just as the new digitalization agenda, which was discussed as a further focus at this year´s Western Balkans Summit during the meeting of the Economy Ministers, co-chaired by Austria and UK, on 4 July 2018.