Austrian State Treaty from 1955:

Article 4


  1. The Allied and Associated Powers declare that political or economic union between Austria and Germany is prohibited. Austria fully recognizes its responsibilities in this matter and shall not enter into political or economic union with Germany in any form whatsoever.

  2. In order to prevent such union Austria shall not conclude any agreement with Germany, nor do any act, nor take any measures likely, directly or indirectly, to promote political or economic union with Germany, or to impair its territorial integrity or political or economic independence. Austria further undertakes to prevent within its territory any act likely, directly or indirectly, to promote such union and shall prevent the existence, resurgence and activities of any organizations having as their aim political or economic union with Germany, and pan-German propaganda in favor of union with Germany.

Now the question, is not the EU a political and economic union?

  • 1
    The more important issue is neutrality.
    – henning
    Aug 24 '17 at 11:02
  • @henning neutrality is about military alliances, while the treaty speaks about political and economic alliances.
    – Anixx
    Aug 24 '17 at 11:25
  • 2
    The political negotiations with the Soviet Union that led to the state treaty and the Austrian constitution prescribe "perpetual neutrality". This has been an important legal impediment to join the European Union. In particular, the constitution had to be changed (Article 23f) for Austria to be able to participate in the EU's common security and defense policy.
    – henning
    Aug 24 '17 at 11:55

No, it's not breaking State Treaty because the article you cite is explicitly about merging Austria and Germany, and it says nothing about merging Austria within a greater polity.

If Austria were to basically become a Land (constituent state) within Germany, forfeiting its foreign policy etc. in the process to Germany as a result, then it would be an issue.

In the case of the EU, it's doing none of that. (Some EU critics may argue it is "in practice" but on paper at least it's not.)

Edit to incorporate key comments:

  1. The article's title ("Prohibition of Anschluss") makes its intent pretty clear. It's to prevent the two countries to create a single polity. It has no bearing on wider ranging cooperation or unions such the EU. (If it had, rest assured that it would have been tested in court already by Austria's rather vocal anti-European party).

  2. There's an important difference between a) literal word of the law and b) intent of the legislator when creating the law. More often than not judges go with the latter. Along similar lines, law is not about knowing what's written; it's about knowing (or more precisely, guessing) how judges will rule based on the case.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Philipp
    Aug 24 '17 at 20:06

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