The IRE was born from the wish to strengthen the regions and cities of Europe. Along with the operational instruments, such a wish also requires high-level backing. To fulfil this duty, well-known and important people of public life in Europe support the IRE by the signing of a public declaration. This declaration embodies the IRE’s ideas and visions, and the support of the board serves as a testimony to our credibility as well as our dedication to the European principles of peace, solidarity and subsidiarity.
The Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) is a European, supra-regional, non-partisan and independent institution for all European regions and municipalities inside and outside of the EU, with the aim to strengthen the political as well as the economic position of the regions and municipalities in Europe. The IRE’s activity hence adheres to the idea of a “Europe of the Regions” at the basis of the principle of Subsidiarity, which is one of the supporting pillars of the European Union as defined in the Lisbon Treaty.
The following high-profile personalities support the aims of the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) and agreed on being members of the “Board of Patrons”:
Prof. Benjamin R. BARBER – Political theorist and author of If Mayors Ruled the World (2013)
Baber (born August 2, 1939) is an American political theorist and author best known for his 1995 bestseller, Jihad vs. McWorld and 2013′s If Mayors Ruled the World.
Barber is a Senior Research Scholar at The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society of The Graduate Center at the City University of New York, the President and Founder of the Interdependence Movement, and Walt Whitman Professor of Political Science Emeritus, Rutgers University. As a political theorist, Barber argues for a renewed focus on the use of civil society and engaged citizenship as tools for building effective democracy, particularly in the post-Cold War world. His current work examines the failure of nation-states to address global problems, and argues that cities and intercity associations are more effectively addressing shared concerns. Benjamin Barber has been a Senior Fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy since 2005.
Barber was an outside adviser to President Bill Clinton and a foreign policy adviser to Howard Dean’s 2004 Presidential campaign. He has advised political parties and political leaders in the U.K., Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland and Italy on civic education and participatory institutions.
Elmar BROK – MEP and Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs
Brok is a German Member of the European Parliament and the current Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was elected on behalf of the Christian Democratic Party and sits with the European People’s Party. An MEP since 1980, he has held many leadership positions in German and European politics. As a member of the Convention on the Constitution for Europe and in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Brok is widely credited with crucial contributions to the Constitution of the European Union. He is currently the President of the Union of European Federalists (UEF).
Dr. Jerzy BUZEK – Member of the European Parliament and former Prime Minister of Poland
Buzek (born 3 July 1940) is a Polish engineer, academic lecturer and politician who was the ninth post-Cold War Prime Minister of Poland from 1997 to 2001. He has been a member of the European Parliament since 13 June 2004, and was President of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2012.
Between the years 1997–2001 as Prime Minister of Poland his cabinet’s major achievements consisted of four significant political and economic reforms: a new local government and administration division of Poland, reform of the pension system, reform of the educational system, and reform of the medical care system. He is an expert in Energy and Foreign Policy.
Dr. Luis DURNWALDER – Former Govenour of South Tyrol
Luis Durnwalder is former governor of the autonomous province of South Tyrol (Italy) from 1989 until 2014 and vice-president of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. In 1969, he became mayor of his home municipality and in 1973 delegate to the provincial state assembly. At that time he also worked as chairman of his party the farmers’ association, Südtiroler Bauernbund. After the 1978 elections, he was promoted to member of the regional government and later became governor of South Tyrol.
Dr. Benita FERRERO-WALDNER – Former EU-Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy
Ferrero-Waldner (born 5 September 1948) is an Austrian diplomat and politician, and a member of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). Ferrero-Waldner served as the Foreign Minister of Austria 2000–2004, as the European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy from 2004 to 2009, and as the European Commissioner for Trade and European Neighbourhood Policy from 2009 to 2010. She now holds the office of President of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean Foundation and is a member of the supervisory board of the Munich Reinsurance Company.
Hubert von GOISERN – Song Writer and World Musician
Hubert von Goisern (born 17 November 1952) is an Austrian singer-songwriter and world musician. With his mix of rock music and elements of traditional Volksmusik he has become a prominent exponent of the so-called New Volksmusik and Alpine Rock in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. His stage name “von Goisern” refers to his home town. Hubert von Goisern has won numerous record certifications and several national and international awards. His lyrics very often tackle political issues.
Dr. Johannes HAHN – European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (currently not active)
Hahn (born 2 December 1957) is an Austrian politician, who has been Commissioner Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations since November 2014 . He previously served as European Commissioner for Regional Policy in the second Barroso Commission, succeeding Benita Ferrero-Waldner as Austria’s EU representative.
During his term as EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn implemented the most ambitious and comprehensive reform of EU Regional Policy so far. The main achievement of the reform is the transformation of Regional Policy from a subvention into a genuine investment policy, closely linked with EU economic governance and macro-economic conditions. This allows e.g. to modify programmes to support key structural reforms.
In his new portfolio, Commissioner Hahn launched, together with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, a comprehensive reform of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), as mandated by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Dr. Ivo JOSIPOVIĆ - Former President of the Republic of Croatia
Josipović (born 28 August 1957) is a Croatian jurist, composer and politician who served as the 3rd President of Croatia from 2010 to 2015.
Josipović entered politics as a member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (SKJ), and played a key role in the democratic transformation of the League of Communists of Croatia into the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as the author of its first statute. He left politics in 1994, but returned in 2003, winning a seat in the Croatian Parliament as an independent candidate on the SDP party list. In addition to politics, Josipović has also worked as a university professor, legal expert, musician and composer.
Jean-Claude JUNCKER – President of the European Commission
(currently not active)
Juncker (born 9 December 1954) is a Luxembourgish politician who has been President of the European Commission since 2014. Juncker previously was Prime Minister of Luxembourg from 1995 to 2013, as well as Luxembour´s Minister for Finances from 1989 to 2009.
He was the longest-serving head of any national government in the EU, and one of the longest-serving democratically elected leaders in the world, by the time he left office, his tenure encompassing the height of the European financial and sovereign debt crisis. From 2005 to 2013 Juncker served as the first permanent President of the Euro-group.
Dr. Helmut KOHL – Former Federal Chancellor of Germany
Kohl (born 3 April 1930) is a German statesman, who served as Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 (of West Germany 1982–90 and of the reunited Germany 1990–98) and as the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1973 to 1998.
His 16-year tenure was the longest of any German chancellor since Otto von Bismarck, and by far the longest of any democratically elected chancellor. He oversaw the end of the Cold War, and is widely regarded as the main architect of the German reunification. Together with French president François Mitterrand, he is also considered as one of the architects of the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union.
Borut PAHOR – President of Slovenia
Pahor (born 2 November 1963) is a Slovenian politician who has been President of Slovenia since December 2012. He was Prime Minister of Slovenia from November 2008 to February 2012. A longtime president of the Social Democrats party, Pahor served several terms as a member of the National Assembly and was its chairman from 2000 to 2004. In 2004, Pahor was elected as member of the European Parliament. Following the victory of the Social Democrats in the 2008 parliamentary election, Pahor was appointed Prime Minister. In June 2012, he announced he would run for the office of President of Slovenia. He won the elections on 2 December 2012, receiving two-thirds of the vote.
Dr. Erwin PRÖLL – Former Governor of Lower Austria
Erwin Pröll was born into a wine-growing family. He studied at the University of natural Resources and Life Science in Vienna. Prior to his doctorate, he became member of the Austrian Farmers Union – part of the Austrian people’s Party – in 1972, where he soon became economic advisor. He started his political career in town council. At the age of 33 he was already elected to the Lower Austrian regional government. From 1992 until 2017 he was the state’s governor and party’s chairman.
Pröll is married with four children. He is the uncle of Josef Pröll, former Austrian Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance.
Dr. Wolfgang SCHÜSSEL- Former Federal Chancellor of Austria
Schüssel (born 7 June 1945) is a politician of the Austrian People’s Party. He was Chancellor of Austria for two consecutive terms from February 2000 to January 2007. He is being recognised as a rare example of an active reformer in contemporary Austrian politics.
In 2011, he retired from being an active member of parliament and is now member of the Board of Trustees of the Bertelsmann Foundation and member of the European Advisory Board of Investcorps
Karel SCHWARZENBERG - Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Czech Republic
Karel, Prince of Schwarzenberg (born 10 December 1937) is a Czech politician, former leader of TOP 09 party and its candidate for President of the Czech Republic in the 2013 election.
Schwarzenberg served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic from July 2010 to July 2013. Nominated originally by the Green Party, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007 to 2009. He served as Senator for one of Prague districts from 2004 to 2010. In May 2010, he was elected Member of the Chamber of Deputies, gaining the largest number of preference votes. He was a candidate for President of the Czech Republic in the 2013 presidential election, and qualified for the second round. He ultimately finished second, receiving 45.19% of the votes. Schwarzenberg is noted for his pro-European views.
Dr. Edmund STOIBER – Former President of the State of Bavaria
Stoiber (born 28 September 1941) is a German politician, former minister-president of the state of Bavaria and former chairman of the Christian Social Union (CSU).
Stoiber subsequently led the CSU to an absolute majority in the Bavarian state election 2003, for the third time in a row, winning this time 60, 7% of the votes and a two-thirds majority in the Landtag.
In November 2007 Edmund Stoiber accepted the position of Director of the High Level Group of the European Union tasked with reducing European Union bureaucracy.
Dr. Danilo TÜRK – Former President of Slovenia
Türk (born February 19, 1952 in Maribor, Slovenia) is a Slovenian jurist, diplomat and politician. From 2007 to 2012 he was President of Slovenia.
Türk studied law at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, where he obtained his law degree (1975). In 1978 he obtained his masters degree in law from Belgrade University and started teaching International Law in Ljubljana. In 1982, he obtained his doctorate thesis. From 1992 to 2000 he was Ambassador of Slovenia to the United Nations. In early 2000 he was appointed political assistant by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (until 2005). From 2006 to 2007 he was deputy director of the University in Ljubljana. On 11 November 2007 he was elected President of the Republic of Slovenia with 68,03% of the vote and was inaugurated in the National Assembly on 22 December 2007.
Dr. Theo WAIGEL – Former Federal Minister for Finance, Germany
Waigel (born 22 April 1939) is a German politician of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria.
Waigel is a lawyer, and earned his doctorate in 1967. He was a member of the Bundestag from 1972 to 2002. He served as Federal Minister of Finance of Germany in the Cabinet of Chancellor Helmut Kohl from 1989 to 1998, and as Chairman of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria from 1989to 1999. He is known as the father of the Euro, the European currency.He played a vital role in its introduction as German Minister of Finance. In 2009, he was appointed Honorary Chairman of the CSU.
He works as lawyer in Munich, Germany.
Dr. Kandeh K. YUMKELLA – Special Representative of the UN Secretary General
Member of the new Energy Transitions Commission; Member of the Senior Advisers Group of Obama’s Power Africa initiative, and adviser to several other energy initiatives supported by DFID and the French government
Yumkella (*1959 in Sierra Leone) is the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN for Sustainable Energy and former Director-General of UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) in Vienna.
Yumkella studied General Agriculture in Sierra Leone, continued his studies in the United States and graduated in 1992 with a PhD in Agricultural Economics at the Illinois University. Before his career in the UN he was Minister for Trade, Industry and State Enterprises of Sierra Leone and, a lecturer at American universities, among other positions, and has been granted various awards as well as high appreciation and recognition.
He held high-ranking positions in UNIDO before his appointment for Director-General (2005-2013). He was Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer for Sustainable Energy for All from 2013 – 2016.
Yumkella often publishes articles in international magazines, e.g. The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune or The Guardian.
Sources: Official Homepages and Wikipedia