Michael Gehler, co-editor
Austria joined the European Union in 1995, with the overwhelming support of its citizenry. In June 1994, a record of 66.6 percent of the Austrian population voted in favor of joining the Union, and Austria acceded on January 1, 1995. Only three years later, in the second half of 1998, Austria assumed its first presidency of the European Union. Its competent conduct of the Union's business enhanced reputation. The sense that Austria was a role model collapsed overnight: after a new conservative People's Party (ÖVP/FPÖ) coalition government was formed in Austria in early February 2000, Austria became Europe's nightmare.