Hannes Richter

60 Years of the Marshall Plan

Hannes Richter

At a festive ceremony in Vienna’s Upper Belvedere, Austria and the United States commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. On behalf of the Austrian government and the Austrian people Federal Minister of Economics and Labor  Martin Bartenstein thanked the United States for the generous reconstruction aid offered by the Marshall Plan. The rebuilding of Europe through the Marshall Plan was a fundamental contribution toward security and stability of the continent and above all, it resulted in a close transatlantic relationship.

On June 5, 1947 U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall presented in a speech at Harvard  University his proposal for European reconstruction following the devastation of war-torn Europe. Under the “European Recovery Program” (ERP), a very significant amount of 5 percent of the American GDP flowed into the rebuilding of Europe. Funds from the Marshall Plan accelerated the process of rebuilding considerably, as Dr. Bartenstein expressed in his speech. Over the last sixty years, the one billion dollars Austria received in aid from the Marshall Plan that were subsequently administered by the Austria Wirtschaftsservice, have tripled today. Since 1962, over 11,000 Austrian firms have been supported by the funds for growth projects, and more than 10 billion euros were made available to the economy in the form of credit with favorable interest.

Austrian Federal Minister of Economics Dr. Martin Bartensetin and U.S. Ambassador to Austria Susan McCaw signing the memorandum promoting exchange programs between the two countries

In recognition of the positive development in Europe and Austria due to the generous economic aid from the Marshall Plan, Federal Minister Martin Bartenstein and U. S. Ambassador to Austria Susan McCaw, signed a memorandum promoting exchange programs between the two countries. This program would offer up to 1,000 scholarships for American and Austrian school children, vocational trainees and students through financing by the ERP Fund established by the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation.