What distinguishes the country?
Austria is a land-locked country with approximately 8.3 million inhabitants and a large proportion of the Alps in central Europe. Geopolitically peripheral until 1989, it is situated today in the interior of central Europe with 83,879 km² surrounded by eight countries (Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary), no fewer than six of which are EU Member States. Austria's geopolitical situation today therefore differs fundamentally from when it joined the EU 15 years ago and prior to the subsequent enlargements in 2004 and 2007.
In general, the climate within Austria varies very widely over short distances (approximately 700 km from east to west and approximately 50 - 290 km from north to south) because of the pronounced relief formation, and ranges from an alpine to a central European climate, from one influenced by the Atlantic to a continental and Illyrian one, the latter already showing a Mediterranean influence.