Institut IRE

  • » Contact
    » News
    » Facebook
    » Twitter
  • Institut IRE -

    Maribor, Piła and Trebnje: Three Cities join the IRE Network

     In the course of the 12th Conference of European Regions and Cities the IRE has welcomed three new members to its europeanwide network. We are glad that Maribor and Trebnje, two Slovenian cities, as well as the first Polish city in the IRE Pila, have  decided to intensify their European approach and have joint  the IRE platform.

     Maribor  is the second-largest city in Slovenia with about 112.325 inhabitants in 2015. It is also the largest city of the traditional region of Lower Styria and the seat of the City Municipality of Maribor.
    Maribor was crowned Alpine town of the year 2000 and was named Cultural Capital of Europe in 2012. The closest major Austrian city is Graz located 60 km north. Maribor now has a growing cultural and economic interconnectivity. One example is the Euregio Graz-Maribor. Maribor is represented by Mayor Dr.Andrej Fištravec.

     Piła is a city in the Voivodeship Great Poland, 80 km north of Poznań. Piła is the largest town in the northern part of Great Poland. It is the capital of Piła County. The town is located on the Gwda river and is famous for its green areas, parks and dense forests nearby. It is an important road and railway hub, located at the intersection of two main lines. With its numerous industrial plants and large-scale operations in the areas of chemistry, metal and wood processing, agriculture and as a railway junction and as the seat of a large railway repair facility, the city is of great regional significance.
    Pila is the IRE´s first Polish member. A coperation between the IRE and Pila has already been discussed. The scientific project with universities from the region Great Poland will take place next year. Pila is represented by its mayor Ing. Piotr Głowski.

     Trebnje is situated in Central Slovenia in the region of Srednja Dolenjska, at the intersection of the Alps, the Dinaric and the Pannonian landscape. It is a strong transit region and strongly influenced by the highway Karawanken – Obrežje (the border crossing between Slovenia and Croatia). The diversity of the region is evident both in nature and in cultural terms. Trebnje has been an important traffic hub, as the excavation of the old Roman settlement of Praetorium Latobicorum show. Trebnje is represented by the mayor  Alojzij Kastelic.

    Foto Maribor: Photo-alliance/ dpa
    Foto Pila: Stadtverwaltung Pila
    Foto Trebnje: Eleassar

    Regional Elections in the Czech Republic: New political movement ANO becomes strongest party

    On October 7th and 8th 2016, regional elections were held in 13 of the 14 regional parliaments in the Czech Republic. No elections were held in the capital Prague. Andrej Babiš and his party ANO (akce nespokojených občanů, „Ano“ also means „Yes“ in Czech) won in nine regions, Bohuslav Sobotka and the Czech social democrats won in two regions, the Christian democrats were able to get the most votes in one region. In the Liberec region, the regional party Starostové pro Liberecký kraj (major for the Liberec region) were able to secure a win. ANO got 21,05% of votes in the whole country, social democrats (ČSSD) got 15,25%. They were followed by communist party KSČM with 10,55% , the civic democratic party ODS with 9,47%, Christ-democrats KDU with 6,30%. SPD with 4,67% and the political movement STAN with 4,02%. Various other parties reached 28,69% of the total votes. Only roughly a third of eligible voters participated in the regional elections.
    Bohuslav Sobotka conceded defeat after the elections and acknowledged that the electorate voted for a political change in the regions. The election was also a defeat for the conservative opposition parties like the ODS.
    The government participation of ANO was apparently not a negative factor for party. ANO, which first appeared in 2012, could establish itself as the strongest political power in nine regions in the first regional elections they participated in. Immediately after the party´s establishment in 2012, they managed to win roughly 20% of the Czech electorate. Already at the EU elections in 2014, the ANO party became the strongest political power in the Czech Republic. The ANO also competed in the last parliamentary elections with the slogan “ANO, bude líp” (“Yes, it will get better) and were able to secure second place in this election. As coalition partner, Andrej Babiš became the new minister of finances. Babiš presents himself as a fighter against corruption and dissipation of money. This fact makes him popular among many Czechs. The 61-year-old billionaire is the owner of the Agrofert Corporation, 250 companies in 18 different countries are a part of Agrofert. Besides many other ventures, he also owns two important Czech daily newspapers and a Czech radio station. Critics of Babiš are distrustful of his influence in the media.

    The regional elections are regarded as a trend indicator for the next parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic, which will be held in 2017. The results of the regional elections confirm national polls, which see ANO as leading party. The outcome of the elections also boost speculations that Babiš is planning to become the next head of government after the next parliamentary elections. Czech media sources are reporting that he wants to become the successor of Sobotka after the next elections.
    Considering the competition between the coalition partners in the government ANO and ČSSD, the political opposition almost perished. The civic ODS and the conservative Top09 were still not able to surmount their difficulties after three years. Back then, their administration was toppled because of a corruption and bugging scandal. Both parties only attained single-digit results. This fact must be very disturbing for these parties, because traditionally the opposition parties gain votes in regional elections in the Czech Republic.

    Die Zeit (8.10.2016)
    Der Standard (8.10.2016)
    Neue Zürcher Zeitung (9.10.2016)
    ORF (9.10.2016) (abgerufen am 11.10.2016)

    Local Elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina

    Milorad Dodik, the president of the Republika Srpska, prevailed again: Just after he was able to achieve victory in a controversial referendum concerning a Serbian holiday, he and his party SNSD won 33 city mayor seats in the council elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) on 2 October 2016. Dodik emphasized after the referendum that he had received congratulations from the Serbian Prime MinisterAleksandar Vučić and “from Moscow”. On Tuesday, October 4th, it was clear that the municipality Srebrenica will also get a Bosnian-Serbian mayor. During the Bosnian war in the 1990s, over 8000 Bosniak (Muslim) inhabitants of Srebrenica were killed by Serbian militias. Bosnian Serb Mladen Grujičić will now assume office as major of Srebrenica and will succeed former major Ćamil Duraković, a Bosnian Muslim. Grujičić will be the first Bosnian Serb acting as a major of this community, his predecessors were all Bosnian Muslims.

    Milorad Dodik and his party were also able to win in the second biggest city of BiH Banja Luka. Furthermore, they also triumphed in 11 other municipalities, which were governed by the opposition party SDS before. However, Dodik´s SNSD party was not the only party which won in this election. The left-wing party Naša Stranka (“Our party”) was also able to chalk up a victory and was able to place 2ndin the two election districts Zentrum and Novo Sarajevo (after the Muslim national party SDA). In the Baščaršija district of Sarajevo, they even placed 1st. The results of the local election were a decent victory for this young party. The left-wing party, which opposes nationalism, will also be represented in other local councils in the Bosniak-Croat federation of the country. The social democrats SDP were also satisfied with the results of the local elections: After a division within the party and a severe election defeat, they were able to recover and gained victory in the city of Tuzla, the 3rd biggest city of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They also won in nine additional cities.
    Some independent nominees also had a reason to celebrate the results of the elections, they had emphasized their opposition to the corruption of the established older parties on their election platforms.

    The controversial referendum which was initiated by Dodik also helped some decidedly Bosniak (Muslim) parties, which because of the polarization between the different ethnic groups received more votes. Bakir Izetbegović, the head of the biggest Bosniak-Muslim party SDA, had previously brought in a charge against this holiday. His party cooperated with the party of oligarch Fahrudin Radončić and they were able to win some inner city districts of Sarajevo. The results of the election can be seen as an indication that the number of liberal thinking Bosnians who oppose ethnonationalism is shrinking. Many of those people have left Bosnia-Herzegovina in recent years. Izetbegović underlined the victory in Sarajevo, stressing that “the victory in the center of Sarajevo is more important than in ten other municipalities”. He probably also made this emphasis because his party had lost in some other communities. His party is still dominating in Sarajevo and 33 other constituencies, but they lost 12 of their former strongholds. The Croatian HDZ party, a branch of the conservative party in Croatia, won in the predominantly Croat regions of the country.
    There were also reports from massive electoral fraud: Opposition members reported “bought votes”. Votes were apparently bought for amounts of about 25-200 Euro. In addition, votes were also seemingly bought in exchange for food and debt cancellations (for example for electricity or coal). Citizens lend their ID card, while someone else voted for them. However, these allegations are not proved yet.
    In the city of Mostar, the capital of the Herzegovina region, the elections was not be held at all. Over 90.000 people were thus not allowed to vote. The hostile ethnic groups were not able to reach a consensus. The president of the electoral commission Ahmet Santic and the President Dragan Kovic were also not able to participate and vote, both of them are from Mostar.

    According to official information, voter turnout was about 54 per cent (about 50 per cent turnout in the Bosniak-Croat Federation and about 60 per cent turnout in the Republika Srpska).

    In summary, it can be concluded that nationalism is rising in Bosnia-Herzegovina. These developments are damaging the central state. Tensions between the different ethnic groups
    are still noticeable. Lately, those tensioned have further tightened.

    Die Presse, 05.10.2016 (Online)
    Der Standard, 03.10.2016 (Online)
    ORF, 02.10.2016 (Online)
    Salzburger Nachrichten, 02.10.2016 (Online)

    12th Conference of European Regions and Cities: Results and Pictures

    The conference of European Regions and Cities took place for the 12th time this year. About 220 representatives from politics and economics met in the Salzburg Congress to discuss and work on sustainability strategies in the fields of finance, integration, land use, water management and tourism. 

    First results and pictures are availabe on the IRE website und on flickr


    Fotos: Franz Neumayr

    25 – 27 Sept 2016 – 12th Conference of European Regions and Cities, Salzburg, Austria

    12th Conference of European Regions and Cities

    „Sustainability in Regions and Cities of Europe“ 

    25 – 27 Sept 2016, Salzburg, Austria


    The annual Conference of European Regions and Cities brings together about 300 representatives of politics and business from the various European regions. It focuses on current topics for European regions and cities with regard to future strategies and challenges for politics and businesses.

    The 12th Conference of European Regions and Cities focuses on a number of regional sustainability issues. Firstly, the current topic of sustainable integration of immigrants in Europe will be discussed, which includes new tasks regarding housing and employment. Secondly, we will look into the sustainable use of the soil and water. Finally, the preservation of cultural heritage makes an important contribution to the promotion of sustainable tourism in cities and regions, which we will talk about on Tuesday. Also, the question of how to obtain financial support for major, sustainable regional projects from European funds will be discussed at the very beginning of the conference.

    Institut der Regionen Europas (IRE),
11. Konferenz Europäischer Regionen und Städte in Salzburg,
Foto: Franz Neumayr/SB

    Institut der Regionen Europas - IRE
11. Konferenz der europäischen Regionen und Städte
in Salzburg
Foto: Franz Neumayr     27.9.2015

    Programme Registration



    Mirko Sarovic, Vice- Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, Sarajewo

    Zoltan Kazatsay, Deputy Director-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium 

    Wilfried Haslauer, Governor of Land Salzburg

    Heinz Schaden, Mayor of the City of Salzburg

    Wilhelm Molterer, Former Vice-Chancellor of Austria and Executive Director of the European Investment Bank (EIB)

    Michael Spindelegger, Director-General, International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Vienna, Austria

    Franz Schausberger, IRE-Chairman 

    Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director World Health Organisation (WHO), UN Deputy Secretary General,   Kopenhagen, Denmark (requested)

    Jörg Wojahn, Head of the European Commission Representation in Austria, Vienna

    Harald Preuner, Vice-Mayor of the City of Salzburg, Austria

    Brigitta Pallauf, President of the Regional Parliament of Land Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria

    Martin Brunkhorst, Head of Vienna Office, European Investment bank, Austria

    Christoph Mühlbacher-Blum, Strategic Development, Erste Bank Group AG, Vienna, Austria

    Melissa Siegel, United Nations University, Unu-Merit, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

    Lelia Hunziker, Managing Director Integration Aargau, Aarau, Switzerland

    Tarek Leitner, ORF-Journalist, Vienna, Austria

    Kurt Weinberger, Managing Director Hagelversicherung, Vienna, Austria

    Christian Steiner, Head of Department for Agriculture and Land Development, St. Pölten

    Christian Hasenleithner, Managing Director Energie AG Wasser GmbH, Linz, Upper Austria

    Gerhard Gamperl, Head of Department Strategy, Corporate Development and Innovation, VERBUND AG, Wien, Austria

    Thomas Kluge, Institute for social-ecological science, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

    Georg Rebernig, Managing Director Environment Agency Austria, Vienna, Austria

    Christian Hlatky, City of Rosenheim, Germany

    and many more.


    E:        F: +43 (0)662/84 32 88 – 5050

    T: +43 (0)662/84 32 88 – 0                





    Together with: 

    Bildergebnis für land salzburg     Bildergebnis für stadt salzburg

    In Cooperation with:


          Bildergebnis für european commission Bildergebnis für european parliament  Bildergebnis für european investment bank Bildergebnis für council of europeBildergebnis für austrian development cooperation

    Main Sponsor: 

    Bildergebnis für erste group


    Bildergebnis für WKO    Bildergebnis für industriellenvereinigung  Bildergebnis für österreichische hagelversicherungBildergebnis für uniqa       Bildergebnis für wüstenrot logo österreich

    Bildergebnis für österreichische nationalbank      Warimpex

       Bildergebnis für danube water programme

    Bildergebnis für IAWD Logo


    Media Partner:

    Bildergebnis für gemeindemagazin public logo     Bildergebnis für bezirksblätter salzburg

    Bildergebnis für EU umweltbüro logo       Bildergebnis für rts salzburg

    The 7 best reasons to participate in the 12th Conference of European Regions and Cities

    The annual Conference of European Regions and Cities brings together about 300 representatives of politics and business from the various European regions. It focuses on current topics for European regions and cities with regard to future strategies and challenges for politics and businesses.

    The 12th Conference of European Regions and Cities focuses on a number of regional sustainability issues. Firstly, the current topic of sustainable integration of immigrants in Europe will be discussed, which includes new tasks regarding housing and employment. Secondly, we will look into the sustainable use of soil and water. Finally, the preservation of cultural heritage makes an important contribution to the promotion of sustainable tourism in cities and regions, which we will talk about on Tuesday. Also, the question of how to obtain financial aid for major, sustainable regional projects from European funds will be discussed at the very beginning of the conference.

    The 7 best reasons for your participation:  Your benefits!

    1. At the Conference of European Regions and Cities current issues are being discussed. Your personal contribution to the discussion is highly appreciated.
    2.  We offer internationally high-profile speakers and experts who will inform you about the latest developments in various fields. In addition regional and local best-practice examples and projects, that have already solved a problem successfully, will be presented.
    3.  Sustainable and modern venue: The Salzburg Congress is an exclusive conference location in the city center. Modern rooms with free WIFI connection offer an ideal working environment. The international conference is organized as a Green Meeting. The Salzburg Congress inspires its visitors due to its unique location right next to the Mirabell Garden.
    4. Free participation: As president or representative of a region, as the mayor and representatives of a city or town, as well as IRE member and sponsor, the participation in the programme is free of charge. All other participants pay 350€ of conference fee for all three days. The programme offers informative key note speeches and panel discussions, meals during the conference and evening programmes at two evenings.
    5.  Unlimited Networking: Meet decision-makers from economics, politics, science and media, investors and cooperation partners. Get in direct contact with important companies and entrepreneurs. Profit from the Europe-wide network of the IRE. National and international contacts are guaranteed. B2B meetings will give you the opportunity to talk to high-profile international participants from different fields.
    6.   The exhibition area on the first floor of the Salzburg Congress offers enough space to present your town, region or company to the conference community (if interested please contact
    7.   IRE social events: We will conclude the successful day in a relaxed atmosphere at the evening events. A reception at the Salzburg Residenz on Sunday and a Salzburg evening at Stiegl´s Brauwelt on Monday will give you the chance to meet like-minded people in a casual way. (The dinner on Monday is charged with 20€, drinks are free.)

    Register now:

    12th Conference of European Regions and Cities „Sustainability in Regions and Cities of Europe“

    25 – 27 Sept 2016, Salzburg, Austria

    Information and Registration: or www.institut-ire-eu

    IRE-Patron possible successor of Ban Ki-moon

    Danilo Türk runner-up in first vote on new UN Secretary-General:

    In the first of several test votes to choose the next UN Secretary-General, former President of Slovenia Danilo Türk came second, right after former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres. For now, the UN Security Council remains deeply divided, which is why a strong initial support is even more important for Türk. Many believe that the time has finally come for a female UN Secretary-General, while some are also convinced that the next UN Secretary-General should come from the Eastern Europe group, which includes Slovenia and Danilo Türk.
    Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the United Nations Andrej Logar said that Türk is one of the leading candidates in terms of the support he has received, adding that the results confirmed what he had already heard in informal discussions at the UN. Türk is a very credible candidate with an extensive knowledge of international relations and UN-related topics. According to Logar, the results also show that the Slovenian Government had made the right decision in supporting the candidacy since Türk proved to be a very strong candidate. The final decision on the new Secretary-General is expected in October or November.
    Danilo Türk joined the IRE “Board of Patrons” a few months ago and supports the IRE in its objective to strengthen the political and economic position of the regions and municipalities in Europe.
    Source: Slovenia Weekly, Government Newspaper.
    Foto: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire

    Housing Alliance founded in Baden-Württemberg

    News from the IRE network:

    The German state of Baden-Württemberg has founded a housing alliance together with the housing industry, the association of local authorities, the parliamentary groups, banks and environmental organizations. The new housing alliance gets all actors of the housing market at one table in order to provide fast and sufficient affordable housing. Baden-Württemberg is a member of the IRE network since 2005.
    The housing alliance for Baden-Württemberg was founded at the invitation of the Minister of Economy, Labour and Housing Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut.  ”It is a central concern of the state government to provide quick and sufficient affordable housing, which proves to be more necessary than ever,” said Hoffmeister-Kraut. In the metropolitan and rural areas of Baden-Württemberg rents and real estate prices have risen dramatically. Particularly cheap apartments for people with lower incomes were short, said the Minister. Efforts to provide housing should therefore be a priority. The state increases the funds available for the housing assistance to 250 million Euros in 2017. 
    The “Housing Alliance” has a consultative and advisory role on housing related issues.

    The IRE is planning a conference on “Regional Housing” on 2nd December 2016 in Salzburg, where housing location and housing funds are being discussed.

    Source: Homepage Baden-Württemberg
    Foto: Die Welt, Homepage Baden-Württemberg

    Meeting for better regional and local cooperation between Hungary, Slovenia and Austria

    Accompanied by IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger, representatives of the regional and local level from Austria, Slovenia and Hungary met on 22 July 2016 at the office of the Mayor of Szentgotthard (Hungary) Gábor Huszár. The second president of the Parliament Rudolf Strommer, the district governor of Jennersdorf Hermann Prem, the Deputy Mayor of Jennersdorf and Member of ParliamentBernard Hirczy, the District govenor of Szentgotthard Orbán István and the representative of the Maribor Igor Kos attended the meeting. Common cross-border problems and projects were discussed, which includes a joint industrial park, the three-country nature park, the electrification of Rababahn and better transport links across the region.

    IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger pointed out the importance of the three-country nature park and the common cultural heritage and suggested to organize a conference dedicated to the natural and cultural heritage of the three border region.

    from left: Bernhard Hirczy, Hermann Prem, Huszár Gábor, Franz Schausberger,
    Rudolf Strommer, Igor Kos.