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    Financing clean and sustainable transport: The role of cities and regions

    Joint workshop of EP’s TRAN committee and CoR-COTER commission on 4th of December 2018:
    Joszef Ribányi, Vice-President of County Council of Tolna Megye (Hungary) and Vice-Chair of the CoR’s COTER commission, co-chaired the annual joint workshop, devoted to “Financing clean and sustainable transport: The role of cities and regions”. This occasion marks the third year in which the two bodies meet to reflect upon the legislative work in the field of transport and mobility.

    RibanyiWhile maintaining mobility and transport infrastructures is already costly for regional authorities, the need to move towards, who is an EPP-politician, opened the meeting: “Transport is often a competence of local and regional authorities. They are in charge of designing and implementing mobility policies and providing efficient and sustainable transport solutions in their territory for their citizens and businesses. Transport infrastructure and mobility are thus key enablers of territorial and social cohesion.”zero-or  low-emission transport systems creates additional pressure. This transformation will be costly and a major part will be for the cities and regions to finance, for instance by renewing their public transport fleet or by deploying alternative fuels infrastructures.

    The members of the workshop discussed the question of financing this transformation. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) could provide financing or at least be a stimulus for initial funding of this transition. Also synergies with other sources of funding – be it public or private – must be further explored.

    Marian-Jean Marinescu, Romanian MEP, co-rapporteur on the Connecting Europe facility 2021–2027 said: “CEF should be used primarily to complete the TEN-T corridors by providing financing for cross-border connections and missing links. In addition, synergies between different EU funding instruments, such as Cohesion and Regional Development Fund as well as InvestEU, should be explored.”

    Joszef Ribányi, Vice-President of County Council of Tolna Megye with Johannes Hahn, EU-Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations
    Investment decisions need to be taken in revenue-generating areas as the quality of road infrastructure is on average declining. Road tolls and external cost charges collected in one region need, in principle, to be reinvested in the transport infrastructure of the region in close co-operation with the competent local and regional authorities.
    In this respect, Ivan Žagar, CoR rapporteur on „Europe on the Move: promoting seamless mobility solutions“, stated: “Road tolls which have been collected for a well-justified reason and which aim to internalise the external costs of transport must remain in the region and must be used to address the problem in the region.”
    Source: EPP Newsletter, 4th December 2018

    Socialists are losing heavily, right-wing populists are moving into the regional parliament for the first time

    Regional elections in Andalusia:
    The regional election in Andalusia on 2nd of December 2018 was considered a mood test for the socialist government led by Pedro Sánchez in Madrid. The Socialists who rule in Madrid are losing in this region where they were unbeatable. And for the first time in Spain, a right-wing populist party is entering a regional parliament.The Socialist Party (PSOE) remains the strongest party in the regional parliament of Andalusia with around 28 percent of the vote, but lost 14 seats (down 7 percentage points) compared to the last election and has now 33 seats. The conservative People’s Party Partido Popular (PP) has lost seven seats and has a total of 26 seats. The right-liberal Ciudadanos were able to more than double their seats and is with 21 seats the third strongest force, an increase of 12 seats compared to the election in 2015. The Podemos offshoot Adelante Andalucia came to 16.2 percent and a total of 17 seats, making it the fourth strongest Power in front of Vox.

    Vox is the surprise winner of Sunday’s election. For the first time, the Spanish right-wing populist party has made it to the regional parliament in Andalusia. The party won twelve of the 109 seats, giving the right-wing parties a majority.Andalusia is the most populated region in Spain with 8.4 million inhabitants. Since 1982, all Prime Ministers have been appointed by the PSOE. In just four decades, she was only once not the strongest party in the regional parliament.

    The Andalusian election marks the start of a series of votes in Spain, ranging from local and regional elections to the European elections in May. Early new elections were called after the Socialists lost support from Ciuadadanos. In purely mathematical terms, VOX, together with the conservatives and the center-right party of Ciudadano, has a majority in the regional parliament in Andalusia. Such a tripartite alliance, which has not been ruled out by any of the parties, would be a first in Spain.
    Source:,, Wikipedia

    100 billion euros for “Horizon Europe” from 2021

    Fighting the brain drain of highly skilled people from regions, cities and communities, as well as renewing the European agenda for research and innovation, were two topics dealt with at a meeting of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) on 27.11.2018 in Brussels .
    Although Europe is at the forefront of investment in research and development and scientific publications worldwide, the next wave of innovation will be based on science, technology and engineering knowledge, in which Europe currently has a competitive advantage. “Here, the EU, member states and actors in business, science and society must do everything they can to maintain this advantage”, said Salzburg State Parliament President Brigitta Pallauf.It is generally welcomed that the EU intends to increase investment in research and innovation by providing € 100 billion for the Horizon Europe program and other programs in the coming 2021-2027 funding period. “From a regional perspective, it is important that EU state aid rules be simplified in such a way as to create innovation-friendly framework conditions in the regions”, emphasized Pallauf.
    Brigitta Pallauf
    Source: Landeskorrespondenz Salzburg

    7th edition of the IRE Occasional Papers 2018 has been published

    Newest publication of the IRE:

    The new Occasional Papers, focusing on migration, cross-border regional cooperation, decentralization and regionalization, has been published.
    • Albania: The Land of Migrating ‘Eagles’ Migena Mersini
    • Kroatien, Bosnien-Herzegowina, Serbien: Jugendarbeitslosigkeit, Migration und Emigration Helene Niksić
    • Landtagswahlen in Österreich 2018: Relevanz der Migration und Integration im Wahlkampf diverser Regionen Maritje Weydemann
    • Decentralization and regionalization of Serbia from 2000 to 2015 and possible future solutions Nina Panić
    • Decentralisation Reform in Ukraine Victoriia Nasibullina
    • Der Einfluss von Föderalismus und Unitarismus auf Unabhängigkeitsbewegungen am Beispiel von Spanien und Schweiz Paul Schöppl
    • Die Euroregion ‘Pro Europa Viadrina’ – Ein deutsch-polnisches Erfolgskonzept? Laureen Krüger
    • Grenzregionale Kooperation der Europaregionen – Eine Analyse der regionalen Aspekte mit Fokus auf die Europäische Union ThomasEisenhut
    IRE Chairman Schausberger presents the new edition


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    Pannonian Institute hands over interesting series to the IRE

    On Friday, 23rd of November 2018, a delegation from Burgenland visited the IRE: District Commissioner from Jennersdorf, Hermann Prem, Prof. Robert Hajszan and his wife. The successful work of the Pannonian Institute (PAIN) based in Güttenbach (Burgenland) was discussed. For over 25 years, a yearbook in 5 languages – German – Slovenian – Hungarian – Burgenland Croatian and Croatian has been created. The Pannonian Institute deals with current topics in the field of transnational cultural exchange, language maintenance, political developments, know-how transfer and many others.
    Founder and Chairman of the Pannonian Institute, Dr. Ing. Hajszan presented IRE Chairman and former governor Univ. Prof. Dr. Franz Schausberger, the total expenditure of all 25 yearbooks from 1994 to 2018. For the future possibilities of a joint cooperation between the Pannonian Institute and the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) were discussed. The countries Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary are also priority countries for the IRE and many regional and local partners as well as science partners are part of the current network.
    From left: IRE-Secretary General Dr. Joachim Fritz, District Commissioner Dr. Hermann Prem, IRE-Chairman and former governour Univ. Prof. Franz Schausberger, Dr. Robert Hajszan

    “Concrete proposals for anchoring the subsidiarity principle”

    Franz Schausberger:
    It is important that the Austrian Presidency has made the issue of “Subsidiarity in the EU” a priority because it makes this issue, which is hard to understand anyway, the focus of public interest and is accompanied by several events. These included the IRE Forum on 30th of September 2018 in Salzburg, said IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger at the Conference of the Austrian Presidency “Subsidiarity as a construction principle of the European Union” in the Festspielhaus Bregenz, 15th until 16th of November 2018.The principle of subsidiarity must be put in the limelight over and over because it is not really taken seriously at the EU level.
    Whenever the EU is in a ‘bad’ mood, especially shortly before the European elections, the subsidiarity principle is discovered.

    Since the signing of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, centralization in Europe has increased. Nationalism has increased and nationalists are always centralists. They want to centralize power at the highest level and not give it down. So it’s a question of pure power and not the question of which level can do the best or whether something should be regulated at all. The hopes of the regions for the Treaty of Lisbon have in no way been fulfilled.

    From left to right: Franz Schausberger, IRE Chairman, Viviane Reding, former EU Commissioner, Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, Vice-President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Alfred Riedl, President of the Austrian Association of Municipalities, Reinhold Lopatka, Chairman of the European Committee of the Austrian Parliament and Member of the Task Force “Subsidiarity”.
    The Austrian Presidency has chosen the future scenario “Less, but more efficient” on the principle of subsidiarity and proportionality.
    Is it possible to redistribute the responsibilities of the EU and the Member States? Due to the political situation in the EU, this is not possible at present and in the foreseeable future!Therefore a way without contract modification has to be gone. The minimum requirement must hence be: The new Commission must at least include the implementation of the result of the Subsidiarity Task Force in its work program. It needs a clear statement what happens to the results.
    On the other hand, it is also necessary to specify in which areas the competence of the EU must be strengthened and unanimity should be abolished in these areas. (Migration, External Borders, Security, Defence, Fighting International Crime, Terrorism, Climate Change, Digitalisation, Common Market, etc.).

    What annoys the people and the small and medium-sized enterprises? Even more and more detailed regulations.
    The guidelines can really only be frameworks and not always become more detailed and close-knit.
     No creeping takeover of unclear responsibilities.
     No “delegated acts” without Member State participation.
     Rapid implementation of the results of the Task Force on Subsidiarity and Proportionality, with the active participation of the European Parliament.
    Greater engagement of national and regional parliaments in the subsidiarity review. Subsidiarity must not only apply between the EU and member states, but must also apply within the member states.

    From left to right: Franz Schausberger, IRE Chairman, Markus Wallner, Governor of Vorarlberg, Christian Buchmann, Chairman of the European Committee of the Austrian Federal Council.

    Confident European with a deep regional anchorage

    Franz Schausberger congratulates Manfred Weber on the election of the
    EPP lead candidate for the 2019 European elections:
    It is gratifying that with Manfred Weber a convinced European, deeply rooted in his regional level, the Free State of Bavaria, was voted the EPP’s lead candidate for the 2019 European elections, said IRE Chariman Franz Schausberger, who is also EPP vice-president in the European Committee of the Regions. Schausberger congratulated Weber on the clear approval of around 80 percent of the delegates.
    Schausberger emphasized that Weber, because of his successful work as Chairman of the EPP Group, knew not only the European level but also, as a former member of the district council of Kelheim and the Bavarian state parliament, the importance of the regional level. In the future, it would be particularly important for the European Union to involve the regions, cities and municipalities more closely in European politics.
    Manfred Weber in Salzburg
    Schausberger referred to Manfred Weber’s speech on 3rd of May 2018 about the regions and subsidiarity. Weber among other things had explained:
    • “Europe is not built only on strong nations. Europe is also rooted in every region.”
    • “When we talk about Europe, we talk a lot about identity. Much of this European identity is being shaped in the regions.”
    • “Europe is deeply rooted in its regions. Without its regions, Europe would be homeless. It is about feelings, about community, about participation and responsibility – all this we can learn in our regions. Without these communities, without its regions, Europe would break.”
    • “The relationship between Europe and its regions is also a mutual love story. Europe is becoming down to earth through the regions. And the regions can only take off through Europe.”
    • “Europe means bringing the peripheral regions to the center. Countless potential in the regions would be wasted if it were not for the unifying band of Europe. Europe is creating a network of regions that brings together the regions. Only through Europe can the regions develop together.”
    • “For me, subsidiarity also means that each level takes responsibility for the decisions it has made. Let us live subsidiarity in Europe – at all levels! “
    • “Let the regions be the hearts of our European democracy. Being close to people means being close to the regions.”
    • “I am a proud Bavarian. Germany is my fatherland. And I am a convinced European. These three elements are inseparable. Europe has only a future when it comes to its roots. Let us therefore preserve the regions in the heart of Europe! “ 

     Source: Phoenix

    IRE-Advisory Board member Prof. Jovičić is new Ambassador for Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations, OSCE and IAEA in Vienna

    Prof. Jugoslav Jovičić visited the Institute of European Regions (IRE) in Salzburg on Wednesday, 31st of October 2018. He has been the new Ambassador for Bosnia and Herzegovina since 4th of October 2018 to the Permanent Mission to the United Nations, the OSCE and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria.
    Prof. Jovičić has been a member of the IRE Advisory Board for many years and numerous joint projects, co-operations and new initiatives have been successfully implemented. The cooperation between Ambassador Jugoslav Jovičić and the IRE will continue in the future.

    For December 2018 a conference is planned together with the Croatian Institute for Migration in Zagreb. In 2019, initiatives will be implemented in the area of EU integration of the Western Balkan countries, the strengthening of rural areas and the development of smart communities.

    Franz Schausberger with Jugoslav Jovičić

    CDU and SPD lose a lot – black-green can narrowly defend the majority

    Landtag election 2018 in Hesse:
    The voters have punished the Union and SPD at the Landtag election in Hesse on Sunday, 29th of October 2018. The Greens increase, the AfD makes it into the Landtag (state parliament). Black-green can continue to govern with a thin majority. However, the two-party alliance would have only one seat more than the opposition in the state parliament. Other constellations are still possible.

    In the state election in Hesse CDU and SPD lost dramatically in votes. Beneficiaries are once again the Greens, who were able to collect the best election results in their history in Hesse. Left and FDP made it clear into the state legislature. The AfD could more than double its election result.

    Despite the huge losses, the CDU on Sunday was clearly with 27.0 percent of the votes the strongest force. The SPD plunged to 19.8 percent and is thus on a par with the Greens, which also increased to 19.8 percent. The AfD moved with 13.1 percent for the first time in the Hessian state parliament and henceforth represented in all 16 state parliaments. The FDP came to 7.5 percent, the Left to 6.3 percent.

    The Hessian state parliament will have in the future, because of numerous overhang and balancing mandates, 137 delegates. So far it was 110. The CDU has in the future 40 seats, the previous coalition partner Greens and the SPD 29 seats each. The AfD reaches 19 seats, the FDP 11, the Left 9. Thus, the CDU and Greens would come up with the necessary majority in order to continue their alliance.

    Volker Bouffier (CDU) announced talks with all parties except Left and AfD about a government coalition. He had recently revealed open for Jamaica alliance, the Greens were more reserved, the Liberals advertised openly. Green and FDP in Hesse, however, have among other things, in energy policy and organic farming differences.
    Four coalitions in Hessen conceivable – even one without the CDU
    In addition to the previous black-green state government in Hesse, according to the preliminary official final result, three more coalitions arithmetically are possible. While the CDU and the Greens are only able to achieve a slim lead of 69 to 68 seats in the future Hessian state parliament, a Jamaican coalition of CDU, Greens and FDP would have a comfortable majority of 80 out of 137 seats. Also possible would be a grand coalition of CDU and SPD, which would also put the black-green alliance to 69 mandates. Even a government without the CDU is theoretically possible if the SPD, Greens and FDP would merge into a traffic light coalition. They also comprise 69 members.

    The parties have no time pressure to forge a government alliance. The electoral term of the previous state parliament ends on 17th of January 2019, one day later, according to the state constitution, the new state parliament meets for its first meeting. Usually, the deputies then vote for the Minister President. If they are unable to do so because of the lack of majorities, the previous state government will continue “the day-to-day business”, as determined by the constitution. The government would consequently only executive in office.

    Tarek Al-Wazir (Greens) and Minister President of Hesse Volker Bouffier (CDU)


    Great federal impact
    The elections in Hesse also had an enormous significance for the federal state.
    At the federal level, the party leaders of the CDU and SPD, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Andrea Nahles, come under pressure after the second election defeat within two weeks. It is rumbling in both parties.
    Researchers were responsible for the collapse of the CDU and SPD, above all, national political reasons. According to an analysis by the Election Research Group, local parties were unable to convince them of any political, top-level or technical skills. According to Infratest dimap, the CDU lost many votes, especially to the previous Green coalition partners.
    Frankfurt on the Main
    Frankfurt has turned green in the Landtag elections. The Greens come to 26.1 percent and are thus the strongest force in the city. The CDU achieves 22.8 percent. The SPD is with 18.4 percent in third place. The Left gets 10.5 percent of the votes, the FDP 8.1 percent and the AfD 9 percent.

    Source: Wikipedia,

    Landtag election in South Tyrol: SVP loses, victory for Köllensperger, Freedom party plummets

    The South Tyrolean state election ended on Sunday 21st of October 2018 with a slightly lower turnout (73.9 percent) than five years ago (77.7 percent). 417,968 eligible voters have tuned 35 members in the South Tyrolean state parliament.

    The South Tyrolean People’s Party (SVP) under Governor Arno Kompatscher has suffered losses. The ruling party since 1948 reached 41.9 percent of the vote, which means a minus of 3.8 percentage points comparing to 2013. Gained in 2013 45.7 percent of the votes and received hence 17 seats, the party will obtain in the future 15 of the 35 seats.

    South Tyrolean governor Kompatscher and Tyrolean governor Platter

    The South Tyrolean entrepreneur Paul Köllensperger caused a surprise with his list of the same name, which garnered 15.2 percent of the vote and thus reached second place. The movement of the former five-star member of the Landtag, which was founded a few months ago, will in future be represented by six mandatories.

    The right-wing alloy of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who landed in third place with 11.1 percent and four mandates, was able to gain ground. The Freedom lost two thirds of the votes. They plunged from 17.9 percent to 6.2 percent, losing nearly two-thirds of their voters.

    “We will now be in ‘orientation talks’ with other parties and then let the party committees decide with whom there should be concrete negotiations,” said the SVP.




    Source: APA/EXPA/Grode, Wikipedia, Tiroler Tageszeitung, Presse
    Copyright © 2018 Institute of the Regions of Europe