INVESTORS IN MSK
CZECHIA and AUSTRIA
A Future as Rich as History
Career diplomat Bettina Kirnbauer has been serving as Austrian Ambassador to the Czech Republic
since 2020. Immediately prior to her current position, she served as Diplomatic Adviser to the
Austrian Federal President Alexander van der Bellen. Holding a doctoral degree in law, she also
had numerous prestigious assignments in the Austrian Foreign Ministry, including Chief of Protocol
2012–2017, where she was responsible for the nuclear talks with Iran leading to the JCPOA, held
in Vienna from 2014–2015.
Austria has long been one of the largest investors in
the Czech Republic. Why is that so—what potential do
you see in the Czech market?
Austrian investment in the Czech Republic amounts
to 330bn Czech crowns, making the Czech Republic
the third-most important investment destination for
Austrians world-wide, creating about 100,000 jobs in
the Czech Republic. In this context, Austria also benefits
from increasing investment by Czech companies.
New opportunities are arising especially with the transition
to a sustainable, green economy and with digitalization.
The European Union, with the Recovery Plan and other
programmes provided for support, and businesses have
been proactively developing new sectors. It is, for example,
very encouraging to see companies from both countries
working together in the field of renewable energy.
Karel Schwarzenberg mentioned in an interview that
Czechs and Austrians are one nation, but they speak
two different languages. How would you assess
the level of relations between the Czech Republic
Relations between both countries are excellent, be it on
political, commercial, cultural or interpersonal levels.
There is very close cooperation between our regions and
municipalities, and the EU’s Interreg program provides
about 2.5bn Czech crowns over a period of seven years
for cross-border projects.
Czechs and Austrians have in common many traditions in
arts, culture and cuisine. Many Austrians have roots in the
Czech lands, and we share a long history which has been
duly reflected by historians from both countries.
I am also impressed how many Czechs speak excellent
German. This is very useful for our companies, which
offer career opportunities for bilingual staff. That is one
of the reasons why ‘Šprechtíme’, the joint campaign with
the German Embassy, the Goethe Institute, the Austria
Institute and other institutions to support learning the
German language, has been in existence for over ten
Could you please tell us anything about the programme
AKTION Czech Republic–Austria?
The ‘AKTION Czech Republic–Austria’ programme has
been operational since 1993 and supports cooperation
in education and research in all scientific fields through
scholarship grants for students and researchers. As
the current programme cycle will end this year,
consultations on the future framework of the programme
are well under way.
I am glad that quite a number of projects involve
universities in the Moravian-Silesian Region. At the last
meeting of the relevant bilateral committee in December
2021 alone, five projects involving the University of
Ostrava or the Technical University of Ostrava were
selected. Their partners in Austria include the University
of Vienna, the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna,
and the University of Mining Leoben.
Your Excellency, thank you for the interview.
Klíčový zprostředkovatel rakouského exportu
ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA je organizace zahraničního
obchodu Rakouské hospodářské komory. Je mezinárodně
široce organizovaná, se svou sítí více než 100 kanceláří
ve více než 70 zemích je perfektně připravená, aby mohla
poradit a pomoci rakouským podnikům všude na světě.
Pomáhá v oblasti vstupu na trh, investičního poradenství,
informačních zdrojů a vymáhání pohledávek.
Key Facilitator of Austrian Export
ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA is a foreign trade organisation
of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce. It is highly
organised internationally with networks of more than
100 offices in more than seventy countries and is
perfectly prepared to advise and help Austrian companies
all over the world. Advantage Austria assists in market
entry, investment advice, information resources and debt
POSITIV 1/2022 ǀ 41