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Score prediction: AUSTRIA 2 – NORTH MACEDONIA 1


As one of the oldest stock exchanges worldwide, the Vienna Stock Exchange is celebrating a remarkable 250-year anniversary later this year.

Trading started on 2 September 1771. On 13 May 2021 the Austrian Traded Index (ATX) turned 30 years old and closed at 6.688,08 points incl. dividends (excl. dividends at 3.376,39 points) which is represents a 6.51% annual performance over 30 years.

Today the exchange company is a modern market infrastructure and service provider. The size of the Austrian investment fund market is €212bn (1,935 funds) and more than 9,100 foreign investment funds were registered for distribution in Austria.

Austrian asset managers demonstrate a long track record in sustainability investment and the Austrian ecolabel for financial products (Umweltzeichen, UZ49) was established in 2004, two years before the UN Principles for Responsible Investment were founded.

UZ49 is not only the oldest ecolabel in Europe, but also has very strict criteria; among them excluding nuclear energy. ESG-oriented assets of private investors in Austria increased by 29% from last year to an asset base of €38.9bn. The share of sustainable investment funds and mandates is 19.8% which confirms the level of interest and support for sustainable investment in Austria.

Fund selectors integrate questions on ESG, SDGs and broader sustainability topics in RFIs, RFPs and due diligence questionnaires on and start requesting SFDR data as well as principle adverse impact indicator information. The level of detail depends on the ESG policy and ESG know how of the fund selector.




Score prediction: AUSTRIA 0 – NORTH MACEDONIA 1


By virtue of a recent name change, North Macedonia is technically the youngest country taking part in the Euros. Having gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it bore the moniker Republic of Macedonia until 2019.

The compass point was inserted into its name because of an ongoing dispute with Greece.

The aforementioned quarrel also saw the country recognised as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia after it joined the United Nations in 1993.

In return for the name change, Greece withdrew its veto which had prevented North Macedonia from gaining entry into the European Union and NATO.

While it has become a NATO member (with effect from March 2020), North Macedonia remains blocked from the EU because of a Bulgarian veto on cultural grounds. It is demanding formal recognition that the North Macedonian language has Bulgarian roots and a clamp down on a perceived rise in anti-Bulgarian sentiment. 

As has been seen with other states that have gained access to the European Union, the opportunities for growth and investment are boundless. Companies that are famous brands in their home market suddenly have the gates opened and market access the likes of which they could only have dreamed.

North Macedonia first applied for EU membership in 2004. Granted, there is now another hurdle to overcome; but much like their football team, there is something inspiring in their tenacity and I, for one, wouldn’t bet against them.

Kirsten Hastings

Kirsten is international editor of Expert Investor and International Adviser. She joined Last Word Media in October 2015. Kirsten has a Masters in Financial Journalism from the...

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