Austria

Constitution and administrative structure of Austria

National level. Austria is a parliamentary democracy with a bicameral parliament (National Council and Federal Council). The 183 members of the National Council are elected every four years, while the 64 members of the Federal Council are delegated by the federal provinces according to their population size. The Federal President is elected every six years. The constitution expressly assigns most competencies to the federal level of government.

Regional level. Austria is composed of nine federal provinces (Bundesländer), three of which – Burgenland, Lower Austria and Vienna – are CENTROPE partners. The federal provinces implement many tasks assigned by the constitution to the Federal Republic without, however, holding any relevant decision-making competencies. Other tasks not expressly defined as federal represent the autonomous sphere of action of the federal provinces. These include e.g. spatial planning, public healthcare, environmental protection or issues relating to sport and tourism. Austria’s 121 districts are part of the provincial administrations.

Local level. Its 2,381 municipalities are further important administrative units of the Republic of Austria. Like the federal provinces, the municipalities execute some federal administrative tasks but are also assigned a constitutionally granted autonomous sphere. The delivery of municipal services (public transport, water, etc.), zoning measures or the maintenance of local infrastructure facilities inter alia fall under this heading.