Institut IRE

  • » Contact
    » Team
  • Institut IRE -

    Franz Schausberger met the representatives of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina at a traditional reception in Brussels

    “Vojvodina, Great for Business, Great for Life“:
    Within the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities, AP Vojvodina hosted the traditional reception on 8th October 2018, whose guest was David McAllister, EU Parliament’s rapporteur, Franz Schausberger, Chairman of the CoR-Working Group Western Balkans, Ana Hrustanović, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union, moreover MEPs, representatives of EU institutions, a number of regions and cities, as well as the business community.
    The hosts of the event, which took place at  the Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the EU, were Đorđe Milićević, Vice-president of the Provincial Government, István Pásztor, President of AP Vojvodina Parliament, and Ognjen Bjelić, Provincial Minister for Regional Development, Interregional Cooperation and Local Self-Government. The event “Vojvodina, Great for Business, Great for Life“,  was organized by the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina and the Vojvodina European Office in Brussels, with the support of the Vojvodina Development Agency.
    Đorđe Milićević, Vice-president of the Provincial Government, emphasized that Vojvodina had made an excellent step, and that the presence of a large number of officials from European institutions testified that Serbia and Vojvodina were on the right track and that the reforms implemented in Serbia were successful. “I believe that we’ve managed to present all the potentials, of which there are a lot, in the best way possible, and tonight’s reception shows that the reputation of Serbia and its province of Vojvodina is high,” said Vice-president Milićević.
    István Pásztor, President of the Assembly of AP Vojvodina, underlined that Vojvodina had a lot of friends among the European regions and that it was of common interest to build partnerships and trustworthy relationships. He added that common ideas related to joint projects allowed European regions to progress.
    An agreement on cooperation between the Vojvodina Chamber of Commerce and the Walloon Union of Companies has been signed in Brussels at the Mission of the Republic of Serbia
    From left ro right: Christoph Stodola (EU Liaison Office of the Province of Salzburg), Franz Schausberger (IRE-Chairman), Ognjen Bjelić (Provincial Minister for Regional Development), Đorđe Milićević (Vice-President of the Provincial Parliament Vojvodina), István Pásztor (President of the Provincial Parliament Vojvodina)

    On the credibility of the EU: Quickly and specifically implement proposals from the Task Force on Subsidiarity!

    Franz Schausberger in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR):

    It is essential for the credibility of the EU to rapidly and effectively implement the proposals of the EU’s “Subsidiarity” Task Force. People do not want more than absolutely necessary to be decided in Brussels. The regions, cities and municipalities must play a more important role in the EU of the future, said the representative of the Land Salzburg in the CoR and IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger in the plenary session in Brussels on the 9th of October 2018.

    In 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon formally strengthened the subsidiarity principle, as well as the regions and local authorities, but in reality the development has been quite different. Over the last ten years, many European countries have been centralized and not decentralized, the EU’s regulatory density and bureaucracy have increased enormously, and the opportunities created by the early warning system and the subsidiarity case have hardly been used in practice, Schausberger noted.

    Now, the Task Force on Subsidiarity has been set up, involving the European Commission, national parliaments and the CoR. The European Parliament unreasonably refused to participate. Unfortunately, after presenting the report of the Task Force with concrete proposals to the President of the European Commission, in his annual speech to the European Union, he did not mention this topic at all. In order to give the EU more credibility, it was therefore urgently necessary to implement the proposals of the Task Force as quickly and concretely as possible, demanded Schausberger. It is not enough to confess to the principle of subsidiarity in Sunday speeches, without taking measures for concrete implementation.

    Franz Schausberger with the Vice-President of Sicily, Gaetano Armao in the plenary session of the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. Both are also Vice Presidents of the EPP in the CoR

    IRE conference on common Central European cultural heritage planned 2019 in Arad

    IRE-Chairman Franz Schausberger in Arad/Romania:
    Franz Schausberger met on 5th of October 2018 with the President of the Arad County Council, Justin Cionca, for a detailed conversation. The main topics discussed were the intensification of cooperation between the Arad district and the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE). Arad has been a member of the IRE for many years, having held several events in Arad. It was agreed to hold a conference in Arad in 2019, which will focus on the restoration of the important cultural heritage and its tourist use in Arad and its neighbouring regions. It is about the common Central European heritage, especially from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Arad County is planning closer cooperation with neighbouring regions in Hungary and Serbia, as well as neighbouring regions in Romania, as part of an “Activarium” platform. However, this would require greater financial autonomy of the regions.

    Justin Cionca and Franz Schausberger
    EU funding has enabled many important projects in Arad
    Issues of European values, mobility within the EU, the education system, EU support for the regions, decentralization and much more were the focus of a European People’s Party (EPP) Local Dialogue in Arad City Hall (Romania) on the 5th of October 2018. The large numbers of students present were highly interested in the question of study opportunities in other EU countries and which education system would offer them the best career opportunities. Schausberger pointed out that the education system had to orient itself above all to the needs of the economy and administration of the region. There was particular interest in the ERASMUS program and internships abroad. The political representatives of the National Liberal Party, notably Gheorghe Falcă, Mayor of Arad, and Justin Cionca, President of Arad County Council, pointed out that decentralization is not only between the EU and its Member States, but also within the states must be done. Above all, a fair financial decentralization is important, since in Romania, the distribution of funds is currently taking place, especially on the part of political parties. However, Arad’s politicians highlighted the huge financial support from the EU funds that made possible the renovation of important cultural monuments and cultural facilities, such as the Concert Hall and Moise Nicoara College.
     Source: IRE

    Centralism increases emigration from rural areas

    Federal Minister Heinz Faßmann visited the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE):

    Strongly centrally organized countries have much more problems with the migration of the population from rural areas and border areas as decentralized or federal states, said the Austrian Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research, Heinz Faßmann on the occasion of a visit to the Institute of the Regions of Europe on 17th of September 2018. Faßmann, himself University Professor of Applied Geography, Spatial Research and Regional Planning, has been confirmed by several scientific projects in the Danube region. He cited Serbia as a special example, a highly centralized country where migration from rural areas to the central region of Belgrade or even abroad is particularly serious. It shows – so Faßmann – that there is a direct connection between centralism and regional disparities. Decentralization and sensible dismantling of centralization measures in the periphery would therefore make sense in terms of regional policy, explained Minister Faßmann.

    The chairman of the IRE, Franz Schausberger, pointed out that in a federal state, political leaders in the regions felt obliged to create liveable conditions for the people in the remote rural areas. After all, they wanted to be re-elected in the next regional elections. Key requirements included good transport links and an excellent supply of fast broadband connections.

    Federal Minister Faßmann welcomed the numerous activities of the IRE on the subject of rural depopulation with the aim of providing solutions for particularly affected regions.

    Federal Minister Heinz Faßmann with IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger

    Infrastructure and traffic are the main challenges for Smart Regions

    Provincial Councilor Stefan Schnöll visited the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE):

    Smart Regions is not only about solving the difficult traffic problems of the provincial capital and its surrounding communities, but also about mobility in the district capitals, such as Zell am See or St. Johann in Salzburg, explained the Salzburg provincial council Mag. Stefan Schnöll during a working visit to the Institute of the Regions of Europe on 18th of September 2018. The government member responsible for transport and infrastructure in the Salzburg state government emphasized that in his work he relied heavily on experts and best practice examples from other European regions. He therefore highly appreciates the work of the IRE because, at its specialist conferences, it always endeavours to promote the exchange of know-how and experience among the various regions on various essential topics in the regions.

    IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger pointed out that it is precisely to promote the creation of good transport infrastructure and public transport to remote regions that are able to largely stem the outflow from rural peripheral areas which can be observed throughout Europe.

    Provincial Councilor Stefan Schnöll and IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger

    State Secretary Edtstadler in Kosovo: Full support in the fight against corruption

    Focal points: stability and security in the region, further progress in the fight against corruption and strengthening the role of women in society:

    Two politicians from Salzburg for Europe and Austria in Kosovo 

    The Secretary of State at the Ministry of the Interior, Mag. Karoline Edtstadler, visited on 4 and 5 September 2018, together with the Special Adviser of the European Commission for the EU enlargement countries Franz Schausberger, Kosovo. The purpose of this working visit was to strengthen security and stability in the region and to assist the Republic of Kosovo in the fight against corruption. “Corruption can erode a state and jeopardize it in the long term. The fight against corruption is also crucial for Kosovo in terms of the EU integration process. Austria would like to help with their expertise in order to make further progress”, said Edtstadler in an interview with the Kosovar Minister of the Interior, Bejtush Gashi, as well as during her visit to the Agency for Combating and Preventing Corruption. In this context, the State Secretary also referred to the planned study visit by a Kosovo delegation on combating corruption from 11 to 12 September 2018 in Vienna.

    Franz Schausberger, Karoline Edtstadler and Minister of Interior Bejtush Gashi 

    In addition to a visit to the Serbian Orthodox monastery church in Gracanica, a visit to the Jahjaga Foundation (founded by the former Kosovar President Atifete Jahjaga) and the Kosovo Women Network was also part of the State Secretary’s program. Both organizations are committed to strengthening the role of women in society. “The Kosovo Women Network and the Jahjaga Foundation are doing valuable work to boost women’s self-esteem. That is also a big concern for me. As part of the Task Force on Criminal Law, I want to support women who are victims of violent and sexual offenses, so they dare to file complaints and turn to victim protection institutions”, said the State Secretary.

    Edtstadler and Schausberger also met Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj and discussed the current situation surrounding the negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo. Hoxhaj and Schausberger agreed that the ultimate goal must be to reach a legally binding, sustainable agreement between Serbia and Kosovo as soon as possible. This is crucial not only for the Western Balkans, but for peace throughout Europe.

    Franz Schausberger, Karoline Edtstadler, Deputy Minister Enver Hoxhaj and Austrian Ambassador Gernot Pfandler

    As Kosovar Interior Minister Gashi emphasized, 90 percent of Kosovars who emigrated to Western Europe in 2014/15 have since returned to Kosovo. Cooperations with 22 countries and its own “returnees program” would have contributed to that. A third of the Kosovars already live legally in Western Europe since the years after the war on the Western Balkans.

    Kosovo is also involved in the Task Force on the fight against smuggling.

    Franz Schausberger plans action “Mayors help mayors”: counteract the rural depopulation!

    As a special advisor to the European Commission for the Western Balkans, Franz Schausberger completed his own visit program to find out more about the situation of the communities in Kosovo. He completed a “ministerial marathon”: Mahir Yagcillar, Minister of Public Administration, Rasim Demiri, Minister of Rural Development, Rozafa Ukimeraj, Secretary General of the Ministry of Local Government, and Agim Veliu, President of the Municipal Union of Kosovo. “Without efficient and democratically led communities, people in their homeland will not want to see a future and emigrate”, said Schausberger. The rural depopulation to the cities or abroad can only be counteracted by strengthening rural communities. In Kosovo, there are only 38 municipalities, which means that they are much too large and the proximity to the local representatives is not nearly as big as in Austria. Moreover, the problem of the four Serbian communities in northern Kosovo is completely unresolved.

    Minister of Public Administration Mahir Yagcilar and Franz Schausberger

    To fulfil the conditions of Kosovo on the way to a common Europe, the municipalities play an important role. However, they can only fulfil conditions if they have the necessary capacities and know-how. In the communities of Kosovo, there is a lack of professionalism, experience and knowledge, which makes a community work well, said Schausberger.

    The municipal administrations are sometimes far from the European standard. The use of financial resources alone is not a sustainable solution unless local politicians and local government officials have the necessary knowledge and experience of a well-functioning community and proper local policies.

    He therefore intends to launch an action “Mayors help mayors” through his Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE), which is not about profit, but about knowledge transfer and exchange of experience, explained Schausberger. He wants to find mayors of Salzburg’s municipalities who are willing to invite mayors from the Western Balkans to show them well-functioning local governments using the example of their own community.

    CEO Andreas Klauser is a new member of the IRE-Economic Board

    IRE expands the European Economic Network:

    The Institute of the Regions of Europe and above all its IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger are pleased to announce that Andreas Klauser, CEO of Palfinger AG, joined the IRE-Economic Board.

    Born in 1965, Andreas Klauser took over as CEO of PALFINGER AG in June 2018.. For many years PALFINGER has been one of the world’s leading manufacturers of innovative lifting solutions for use on commercial vehicles and in the maritime field. As a multinational group headquartered in Bergheim, Austria, the PALFINGER Group, which has approx. 10,212 employees, generated total revenue of approx. EUR 1,471.1 million in 2017.

    Andreas Klauser
    Source: Palfinger AG

    “Europe 1918 – 2018 – 2118”

    14th Conference of European Regions and Cities:

    14th Conference of European Regions and Cities
    30th of September until 02nd of October 2018 in Salzburg, Austria

    The annual Conference of European Regions and Cities will be organized on topical issues for Europe’s regions and cities with a view to future strategies and challenges for politics and economy. Every year, this conference brings together around 250 political and economic decision-makers from different regions of Europe.

    At this year’s 14th Conference of European Regions and Cities, international experts will address on the theme “Europe 1918 – 2018 – 2118″ and discuss in a three-day podium topics on Subsidiarity and Europe, What emerged from the Europe of its founders, Rural depopulation, Digitalisation, Future of Europe and Energy supply.

    A total of 54 speakers will attend the conference, including EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, CoR President Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Salzburg Governor Wilfried Haslauer and the Federal Ministers Juliane Bogner-Strauß and Elisabeth Köstinger.

    Decentralization and strengthening of regional and local self-government is important for the Western Balkan countries on their way to the EU

    EU-Commissioner Johannes Hahn visited the IRE:

    Franz Schausberger pointed out that the Local Self-Government Charter provided a valuable frame of reference for the municipalities and cities; a corresponding Regional Self-Government Charter had been missing for years, but would be very helpful for the Western Balkan enlargement countries.

    In the meeting with IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger, the EU Commissioner thanked the regional and local level for the numerous activities of the Institute of the Regions of Europe, especially in the area of Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Above all, the many conferences and seminars in the Western Balkans contribute to improving the capacity of sub-national administrations.

    The strengthening of regional structures and self-government in the municipalities and cities in the six enlargement countries in the Western Balkans is an important prerequisite for their rapprochement with the European Union, said Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn during a working visit to the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) on 28th of August 2018. For the future implementation of EU policies, it is essential to have strong and well-resourced political and administrative institutions at regional and local level.

    From left to right: Joachim Fritz (IRE-Secretary General), Franz Schausberger (IRE-Chairman), Lisa-Marie Stauffer (IRE-Staff) and Johannes Hahn (EU-Commissioner)  

    Cyber security is an important area of digitization in Europe

    Visit of State Secretary Mag. Karoline Edtstadler at the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE):

    State Secretary in the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, Mag. Karoline Edtstadler paid a visit to the IRE on 25th of July 2018. The State Secretary and the Chairman of the IRE, former Governor Franz Schausberger, agreed that the issue of cyber security is an extremely important area of digitization across Europe. Almost every week there are cyber attacks on banks. Edtstadler pointed out that the number of cyber attacks is skyrocketing and that in 2017, 80 percent of European companies have been affected by it in some form. It mainly affects small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which often do not have the opportunity to effectively prepare for such attacks. Across Europe, better cross-border cooperation and a clear definition of what cybercrime is necessary. Therefore, State Secretary Edtstadler advocates that the cyber security package be completed this year during the Austrian EU Presidency.

    She also welcomed the issue of digitization and cyber security in a separate panel discussion at the 14th Conference of European Regions and Cities of the IRE, to be held in Salzburg from 30th of September to 2nd of October 2018.
    State Secretary Mag. Karoline Edtstadler (centre), IRE –Chairman Franz Schausberger (left), IRE Secretary General Joachim Fritz (right) with staff and interns of the IRE
    Copyright © 2018 Institute of the Regions of Europe