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    The city of Kukës is a new member of the IRE family

    The youngest IRE member of the year 2018 comes from Albania:
    The Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) is pleased to announce a new member of the IRE- network, the city of Kukës in northern Albania. The city has 16.700 inhabitants and is the capital of the district of the same region. The city is located in the middle of the northern Albanian mountains.
    Historically, the area was mainly associated with Kosovo and the city of Prizren. Up to the Kosovar border, there are only 15kilometres as the crow flies.
    Kukës was first mentioned in 1571 as Kukufic. At that time it consisted of only a handful of houses and lay in the deep river valley. From 1912 to 1921 it was alternately controlled by Serbs, Bulgarians andAustrians. In 1925, the city became the center of the district of the same region and the prefecture. In 1962 they began to build on a plateau, the new city. The aim was to relocate the inhabitants of Old Kukes there. In 1978, Alt-Kukes finally disappeared forever in the floodwaters of the long reservoir, which is over 100 km long and is used to generate energy.
     

     
    During the Kosovo War in 1999, Kukës briefly became known when tens of thousands of Albanian refugees from Kosovo found asylum in Kukës and hundreds of journalists reported the events.
     
    The region around Kukës experienced a boom during communist rule thanks to mining, timber industry and state agriculture. At the old trading place more and more enterprises were settled and in the environment copper and chrome mined.
     
    In 2006, work began on the construction of the A1 motorway from Durrës to Kosovo, which was officially opened in June 2009. This new connection is 177 kilometers long and now allows a fast, mostly four-lane connection between Kosovo and the Albanian coast. The United Arab Emirates financed the construction of a new “Zayed” Airport, which was not actually put into operation.
     
    Mayor of the city is Bashkim Shehu of the Democratic Party. 
    Source: invest-in-albania.org, Agjencia Telegrafike Shqiptare

    20th February 2019: IRE-Expert Conference “Mobility in Smart Regions – supranational transportation concepts in Europe”, Hallwang, Salzburg/Austria

    For the eight time, the Institute of European Regions (IRE) is organising an International Expert Conference which is devoted to the topic of “Mobility in Smart Regions – supranational transportation concepts in Europe”. Venue is the Cultural Center in Hallwang near Salzburg, Austria.

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    E: office@institut-ire.eu                          T: +43 (0)662/84 32 88 – 0

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    Military historian hands over historic publication to the IRE

    The military historian Markus Pichler presented the recently published book on the officers of the Austrian Revolution (1918-1920) to the IRE board and professor of Austrian history, Franz Schausberger. It is the first volume of a biographical series on the recent history of Austria and contains the biographies of the 122 lieutenants of the so-called “Volkswehr”.
     
    Christian Frech, Markus Pichler, Peter Steiner: The Officers of the Austrian Revolution. The republic and its “Volksarmee”-lieutenants. A military-historical-biographical study 100 years later. Vienna 2018. 330 pages.
     

    Markus Pichler with Franz Schausberger

    Europe: United in diversity and not separated inequality

    European Congress in Klosterneuburg;

    People are concerned with security, safety in everyday life as well as the fight against terrorism and the halting of illegal migration, said EPP’s leading candidate Manfred Weber at a major congress of the EPP on 10 December 2018 in Klosterneuburg, Austria. As far as EU enlargement is concerned, Weber stated that the accession talks of the European Union with Turkey will be terminated. Unlike Turkey, the Balkans belong to Europe, emphasized Weber, which was fully supported by Austria’s Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz: “Austria has traditionally had close ties to the Western Balkans. We need these states in the European Union, “says Kurz.

    “A Europe of subsidiarity” is the future for Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz: “I believe that the regions must play a strong role. United according to the motto and not separated inequality. We need more cooperation, where necessary, but at the same time preserving the diversity of Europe. “
     


    Manfred Weber strongly supported subsidiarity
    For the provincial governor of Lower Austria, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, there can only be a strong Europe if there are strong regions and vice versa. “Europe has to take care of the big challenges and big things. The Member States and the Regions are taking care of that little thing “.

    The upcoming European elections in May 2019 have a completely different topic than the EU election in 2014, said EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Europe must protect its citizens, remain strong economically and defend its values, no matter how the neighborhood of Europe develops.
     


    F.l.t.r: Viktor Sigl, Upper Austria President of the Parliament, Nikola Dubroslavic, Governor of Dubrovnik-Neretva (CRO), Franz Schausberger, former Governor, Janez Jansa, former Prime Minister of Slovenia, M.E.
     
    The event was also attended by Janez Jansa, leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party, and Ludovic Orban, president of the national-liberal PNL party in Romania, as well as many representatives from the Committee of the Regions and Austrian provinces, including IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger.

    The elections to the European Parliament will take place from 23 to 26 May 2019. The election is expected to be the first parliamentary election following Britain’s exit from the EU. If it comes after the European Parliament, the leading candidate of the party with the highest votes should become the President of the European Commission. However, there is currently no legal basis in the EU treaties.

    Source: APA

    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: faz.net, europaress.es, 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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