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Declaration of Neutrality

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The Declaration of Neutrality (German: Neutralitätserklärung) was a declaration by the Austrian Parliament declaring the country permanently neutral. It was enacted on 26 October 1955 as a constitutional act of parliament, i.e., as part of the Constitution of Austria.[1]

Pursuant to resolution of the Federal Assembly of Parliament following the Austrian State Treaty, Austria declared "its permanent neutrality of its own accord".[2] The second section of this law stated: "In all future times Austria will not join any military alliances and will not permit the establishment of any foreign military bases on her territory."[3]


Formally, the declaration was promulgated voluntarily by the Republic of Austria. Politically, it was the direct consequence of the allied occupation by the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France between 1945 and 1955, from which the country was freed by the Austrian State Treaty of 15 May the same year. The Soviet Union would not have agreed to the State Treaty if Austria had not committed to declaring neutrality after the allied forces had left the country.[4]

The Bundesgesetzblatt containing the Federal Constitutional Law on the Neutrality of Austria.

Since 1955,[5][better source needed] neutrality has become a deeply ingrained element of Austrian identity. An opinion poll from March 2022 found that 76% favored Austria remaining neutral, versus 18% who supported joining NATO.[6]

Membership of Austria in the European Union (or its predecessor organizations) was controversial due to the Austrian commitment to neutrality. Austria only joined the bloc in 1995 together with Finland and Sweden which had also declared their neutrality in the Cold War, following a referendum on accession.[citation needed]

In 1995, Austria joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program, but only after Russia had done so.[citation needed]

In March 2023, Freedom Party politicians walked out of a speech delivered by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the Austrian parliament on the 400th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They argued the speech violated Austria's neutrality and left placards reading "space for neutrality" and "space for peace" on their desks.

In 2023, Austria joined the European Sky Shield Initiative created in 2022 as a reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The project would fund a European missile defense system. The government argued that because their resources are being pooled with other countries, it is not a violation of their neutrality.[7]

International collaborations[edit]

Austria engages in UN-led peacekeeping and other humanitarian missions. It participates in:

In 2023, Austria (and Switzerland) joined a coalition of European, mostly NATO-allied countries in the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI), which is a project to build an integrated air defence system with anti-ballistic missile capability.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "RIS - Neutralitätsgesetz § 0 - Bundesrecht konsolidiert". www.ris.bka.gv.at. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  2. ^ "1955 – State Treaty and Neutrality". www.parlament.gv.at. Archived from the original on 2018-05-20. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  3. ^ "Federal Constitutional Law of October 26, 1955 on Austria's neutrality" (PDF).
  4. ^ K. Ginther, Neutralität und Neutralitätspolitik Die österreichische Neutralität zwischen Schweizer Muster und sowjetischer Koexistenzdoktrin, Vienna, 1975.
  5. ^ Bundesgesetzblatt für die Republik Österreich, 1955, de:Datei:Bundesgesetzblatt (Austria) 1955 1151.jpg
  7. ^ "Neutral Swiss and Austrians join Europe's Sky Shield defence". BBC News. 2023-07-07. Retrieved 2023-08-14.