Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs

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AustriaAustria  Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs
Austrian Authority
State level Federation
Position of the authority Federal Ministry
founding Forerunner since 1720, Federal Ministry for the first time November 20, 1920
Headquarters Vienna 1 , Minoritenplatz 8
Authority management Alexander Schallenberg , Federal Minister for European and International Affairs
Budget volume EUR 496 million (2020)
Website www.bmeia.gv.at

The Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs ( BMEIA for short ) is the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Austria . The department of the federal government , the foreign policy , the Representation of Austria to other states (diplomacy), and current issues of immigration consequences transmitted. The Ministry has been headed by Federal Minister Alexander Schallenberg (independent, nominated by the ÖVP) since June 3, 2019 .

Alexander Schallenberg , Federal Minister for European and International Affairs
Austrian Foreign Ministry at Minoritenplatz 8

The Federal Ministry, originally called the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs ( BMAA ) and from April 1, 1987 ( Federal Law Gazette No. 78/1987 ) Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs ( BMaA ), was under the Federal Government Gusenbauer and its Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik ( ÖVP ) with effect from March 1, 2007 ( Federal Law Gazette I No. 6/2007 ) renamed the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs ( BMeiA or BMEIA for short ) in order to emphasize the aspect of a European Ministry and for EU- political reasons so that the other EU- Member States are not subsumed under foreign countries in this name, but specifically mentioned. After the formation of the Federal Government Faymann II , on March 1, 2014 ( Federal Law Gazette I No. 11/2014 ) the name was changed to the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs . The Foreign Ministry has been using the name Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs again since January 29, 2020 ( Federal Law Gazette I No. 8/2020 ), when the agendas of the Ministry of Integration were transferred to the Federal Chancellery .

Federal Minister

The department for external affairs in the republic has not always been an independent ministry since 1918, but at times part of the Federal Chancellery , at whose current seat the ministry was long before the Chancellery.

Since June 3, 2019, Alexander Schallenberg has headed the ministry as the 19th Foreign Minister of the Second Republic (since 1945).


According to the Federal Ministries Act, the BMEIA is responsible for “foreign affairs insofar as they do not fall under the jurisdiction of another federal ministry”.

The following are listed in particular:


The Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs is structured as follows. The chief official of the department is the Secretary General for Foreign Affairs . Head of the General Inspectorate for Internal Auditing is Hans Peter Manz .

  • Federal Minister for European and International Affairs
    • Cabinet of the Federal Minister including the Strategy Unit
  • Secretary General for Foreign Affairs
    • Secretary General's Office
    • Central Affairs Group
      • Department I.2: Security Matters
      • Department I.3: Press and Information
      • Department VI.3: Budget Matters; Controlling
    • General Inspectorate - Internal Audit
    • Data protection officer acc. Art. 37 ff DSGVO or Section 5 DSG
    • Section I: Legal Section (Section Head: Helmut Tichy)
      • Department I.1: Protocol
      • Department I.4: Organization of state conferences and matters of international organizations and schools in Austria
      • Group IA: International Law Office
        • Department I.5: General International Law
        • Department I.6: European Law
        • Department I.7: Human Rights, Ethnic Group Matters
    • Section II: Bilateral Affairs (Section Head: Alexander Marschik)
      • Division II.1: Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
      • Division II.2: Central, Western and Northern Europe
      • Division II.3: Eastern Europe; South Caucasus; Central Asia; Eastern Neighborhood Policy of the EU; Eastern partnership
      • Department II.4: South Tyrol and Southern Europe
      • Department II.5: Southeast Europe and EU Enlargement; Twinning and TAIEX
      • Division II.6: Near and Middle East; southern neighborhood policy of the EU
      • Division II.7: Sub-Saharan Africa; African Union (AU)
      • Division II.8: Asia and Pacific
      • Division II.9: America
    • Section III: EU and Multilateral Affairs (Section Head: Andreas Riecken)
      • Support Center Section III
      • Division III.1: European Policy Issues
      • Department III.2: EU coordination
      • Division III.3: Security Affairs
      • Department III.4: Multilateral External Economic Relations; EU Common Commercial Policy (including Trade Policy Committee); Export promotion; Investment protection; international financial institutions, EU macro-regional strategies; Danube Protection Commission (IKSD)
      • Division III.5: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Economic and Environmental Dimension of the OSCE
      • Division III.6: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE); Council of Europe (EuR); Inter-Parliamentary Union
      • Division III.7: International Organizations
      • Department III.8: Disarmament, Arms Control, Non-Proliferation
      • Division III.9: Energy, Transport and Telecommunications
    • Section IV: Consular Section and Corporate Service (Section Head: Petra Schneebauer)
      • Department IV.1: Citizen service and operational crisis management abroad
      • Department IV.2: Corporate Service
      • Department IV.3: Office for Austrians Abroad and digital applications in consular citizen support
      • Department IV.4: Legal Protection; Legal and administrative assistance; general legal matters
      • Department IV.5: Visa, border, residence and asylum matters; Migration; Combating trafficking in human beings
    • Section V: Foreign Cultural Relations (Section Leader: Teresa Indjein)
      • Department V.1: Policy and legal issues, cultural agreements, coordination, cultural budget and evaluation
      • Department V.2: Organization of cultural and scientific events abroad
      • Department V.3: Scientific Cooperation; Dialogue of Civilizations
      • Department V.4: Affairs of multilateral cultural policy and sport matters
    • Section VI: Administrative Section (Head of Section: Elisabeth Bertagnoli)
      • Department VI.1: Operational personnel matters
      • Department VI.2: General personnel matters
      • Department VI.6: Administrative Law
      • Group VI.A: Infrastructure
        • Department VI.4: Real Estate Matters
        • Department VI.5: Construction and equipment matters
        • Department VI.7: Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
    • Section VII: Development (Head of Section: Désirée Schweitzer)
      • Department VII.1: Development Cooperation within the European Union and United Nations
      • Department VII.2: Issues and Development Finance
      • Department VII.3: Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid
      • Department VII.4: Three-year program; Target group support; Evaluation
      • Department VII.5: Bilateral and regional planning and program matters

The Austrian Cultural Forum is subordinate to Section V. For the organization of foreign trade in Austria of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce , the Ministry takes care of the accreditations , whereby the heads of the former trade delegations enjoy the rights that the Austrian embassy staff has in the country concerned.

The Permanent Representation of Austria to the European Union is also subordinate to the Ministry.


The BMEIA's budget for 2018 is EUR 502.6 million (financing proposal) and EUR 508.4 million for 2019 (financing proposal). This corresponds to around 0.64% of the total federal budget or around 0.13% of the gross domestic product.

In 2018, 234 million euros will be spent on operational administration, 263.6 million euros on transfer payments and 44.9 million euros on investments. The transfer payments include in particular the services to the international organizations.

In 2018 and 2019, 107.5 million euros and 117.5 million euros respectively are budgeted for development cooperation.

Historical development

Overall, the history of international diplomacy is closely linked to the city of Vienna . The first uniform classification of diplomats took place on the occasion of the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and by the Aachen Protocol in 1818. When the customs of international relations were cast into an international legal framework under the umbrella of the United Nations , the corresponding conferences took place in Vienna and culminated in the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations (1961) and in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963).

The year 1720 is considered the birth of the independent Austrian diplomatic service, when Emperor Charles VI. As sovereign, the administration of the foreign relations of the Austrian hereditary lands was entrusted to a separate minister of foreign affairs . In 1804 the Austrian Empire was proclaimed and the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy , in which foreign policy belonged to the common affairs of both parts of the empire, the external remained the prerogative of the monarch and the minister appointed by him until 1918 . The Reichsrat appointed or elected from 1861 or, after the "settlement" of 1867 with Hungary, the parliaments of both halves of the Reich, was entitled to criticism of the Foreign Minister, but not to co-decision.

International fame became known as the imperial foreign politician of the Biedermeier State Chancellor Klemens Wenzel Lothar von Metternich , who made the Ballhausplatz , where he resided next to the Hofburg , appear as a synonym for a European center of power.

From 1867 on, what was now the Austro -Hungarian Foreign Ministry was one of the three joint ministries of the Real Union Austria-Hungary , with the "Minister of the Imperial and Royal House and Foreign Affairs", the official title, chairing the Council of Ministers for common affairs , briefly as the joint Council of Ministers designated, led. Because, at the request of Hungary, no prime minister was appointed for the entire monarchy.

In 1882, Foreign Minister Count Gustav Kálnoky established the Triple Alliance (Austria-Hungary, German Empire , Kingdom of Italy ) as a defensive alliance, but due to the close ties between the monarchy and Germany, Austria-Hungary could not be avoided by many European states as a potential enemy rather than a friend was felt. The multi-ethnic state of Austria-Hungary was unable to find a recipe against the growing nationalism in Europe in the second half of the 19th century .

At Ballhausplatz, Minister Leopold Berchtold formulated the fateful ultimatum to Serbia in July 1914 , which a few days later resulted in Austria-Hungary declaring war on the kingdom. The 84-year-old Emperor Franz Joseph I as the decision-maker was given the impression by Berchtold and the belligerent Chief of Staff Conrad that the honor of the monarchy required this declaration of war. The resulting Great War was later referred to as the First World War . During the war, the chief of staff set the tone until November 1916, not the foreign minister, then Emperor Karl I , although from 1914 the monarchy became increasingly dependent on the German Reich due to its military weakness.

After the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy , the State Office of Foreign Affairs was established in the new state of German Austria on October 30, 1918 in the Renner I state government, which was decided on by the National Assembly on October 1, 1920 on November 10, 1920, the date on which the National Assembly came into force Federal Constitution , in which the state, then Federal Government Mayr I was replaced by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was run as an independent Federal Ministry for the first time from November 20, 1920 ( Federal Government Mayr II ).

When German Austria was founded, the three imperial and royal ministries still existed, but became de facto obsolete since the Kingdom of Hungary had terminated the Real Union with Austria on October 31, 1918. When the Kaiser for German Austria renounced any share in state affairs on November 11, 1918, Ludwig von Flotow , who had been in charge of the Foreign Ministry since November 2, 1918, had to liquidate the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Ministry until 1920 under the supervision of the republican government.

From 1923 to 1938, for reasons of economy, foreign affairs were handled by a section in the Federal Chancellery . Some Federal Chancellors of the First Republic therefore also acted as Foreign Ministers (without using the title) or had (until 1959) a Foreign Minister in the Federal Chancellery who headed the foreign policy section. It was not until 1959 that a separate Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs was set up again at the instigation of Bruno Kreisky ; The SPÖ , which formed a coalition with the ÖVP , received more votes than the Chancellor's party in the National Council election in 1959 and enforced this strengthening of its influence.

When the Federal Government of Gusenbauer took office in 2007, the coalition partners SPÖ and ÖVP decided to rename the ministry. The reason given by Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik was that the previous name no longer clearly expressed the interweaving, networkedness, partnership and solidarity that characterize our international relations , but rather smacked of demarcation . The change does not go hand in hand with a change in competencies, but creates a new accent in the self-image of Austrian diplomacy. Apparently, as part of the European Union, the other parts of the Union no longer wanted to be called foreign countries.

In 2007 the Ministry held open days for the first time on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome on March 25th and the Austrian national holiday on October 26th. Interested school groups have the opportunity to visit the ministry.

In the course of the amendment to the Federal Ministries Act and the inauguration of Sebastian Kurz as Foreign Minister on December 16, 2013, the former State Secretariat for Integration also moved to the Foreign Ministry. On March 1, 2014, the department was renamed “Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs”.

The flags of the EU member states on the facade of the ministry ( national holiday 2013)


  • 1742: Secret house, court and state chancellery for foreign policy matters
  • December 21, 1867–11. November 1918: k. u. k. Ministry of the Imperial and Royal House and for Foreign Affairs , one of the three for the monarchy of Austria-Hungary competent kuk ministries, the emperor directly under standing; the minister was chairman of the joint council of ministers
  • October 30, 1918: State Office for Foreign Affairs in the Renner I state government of German Austria
  • October 31, 1918: Hungary leaves the Real Union with Austria, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Ministry is obsolete
  • November 12, 1918: German Austria declares itself a republic. The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Ministry was liquidated by 1920.
  • November 10, 1920: Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs (BfÄ) according to the Federal Constitutional Act , which comes into force on this day
  • 1923: Incorporation as the Foreign Affairs Section in the Federal Chancellery (restored in 1945)
  • March 13, 1938: Austria is "connected" to the German Reich , the Austrian government is only Hitler's orders
  • April 27, 1945: The provisional state government Renner 1945 and the following federal governments manage foreign policy agendas in the political cabinet council of the state government and in the Federal Chancellery.
  • 1959: Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs ( BMfAA, later BMAA ) at the instigation of Bruno Kreisky (previously as State Secretary for Foreign Affairs in the Federal Government of Raab II and since establishment as a separate ministry as Foreign Minister in the Federal Government of Raab III )
  • 1987: Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs ( BMaA ) under Federal Chancellor Franz Vranitzky ( Federal Government Vranitzky II )
  • 2005: The ministry moves out of the building of the Federal Chancellery (see section Headquarters).
  • 2007: Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (for reasons of EU policy, the other EU member states are not subsumed under foreign countries in this new name of the ministry, but are specifically mentioned)
  • 2014: Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (the former State Secretariat for Integration is run as an independent section in the Foreign Ministry)

Official seat of the BMEIA

After 286 years at Ballhausplatz 2, the address of the Austrian Federal Chancellery since 1923, the Foreign Office moved in 2005 to the historic Lower Austrian country house at Herrengasse  13 and the neighboring former governor's building at No. 11 due to the limited space available there, which required several branches Buildings are connected by a glass bridge. The main entrance is at Minoritenplatz  8 opposite the Chancellery. Until 1996 the country house was the seat of the Lower Austrian provincial government and the Lower Austrian parliament, which then moved to St. Pölten .

In the country house is the former state parliament hall with high baroque ceiling frescoes, until 1883 also the meeting room of the manor house of the Reichsrat and from October 21 to November 11, 1918 the provisional national assembly for German Austria . "Wappensaal" (with reproductions of historical maps from the holdings of the Austrian National Library ) and "Alois Mock-Saal" (history painting cycle by Leopold Kupelwieser ) are available for events.

The entire so-called "headquarters" of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now housed in the two buildings, only the Diplomatic Academy and the Foreign Policy Library located there are not located on Minoritenplatz, but also at a historical address in Vienna's 4th  district . Part of the building on Herrengasse will continue to be used as an event center by the state government under the name “Palais Niederösterreich”.

List of Foreign Ministers of Austria

See also


  • Rudolf Agstner: Handbook of the Austrian Foreign Service , Vol. 1: 1918–1938. Headquarters, embassies and consulates . Lit Verlag , Münster Vienna 2015. ISBN 978-3643506856 .

Web links

Commons : Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Finance Act 2020. (PDF) Federal Ministry of Finance, accessed on June 21, 2020 (page 550).
  2. ^ Federal Ministries Act 1986. Accessed on January 29, 2020 .
  3. Business division