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    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.



    Commissoner Hahn at Paris Western Balkan Summit: 146 Mio. € for connectivity projects in the Balkans

    The European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn has recently announced the release of €146 million for projects linked to connectivity in the Balkans during the Western Balkan Summit in Paris. “We have decided to provide €96 million for 3 railway infrastructure projects in Serbia, Albania and in Kosovo. We will also provide €50 million for greening measures such as energy efficiency in residential buildings and small-scale hydro projects”, he said at the Balkans summit Business Forum.

    Hahn also stated that connectivity is not just about building new infrastructure but about ensuring the best use of infrastructure. “Investment without reforms makes little sense”, he said, underlining that the countries in the region should respect the commitments taken, especially on reform measures concerning transport and energy.

    “The connectivity agenda has the potential to improve the competitiveness of the region by reducing the costs for businesses when goods are moved through the region. That potential will only be fully met if all the identified reforms are implemented in full whilst countries focus their limited fiscal space on the most important investment priorities”, Hahn concluded.

    picture: SN/EPA

    After the Local Elections in Arad, Romania: Make full Use of EU-Funds


    A new president was elected in the IRE Member Region Arad after the local elections in Romania on 5 June 2016. Iustin Cionca of the National Liberal Party PNL will hold the office of county president for the next four years. Representatives of local authorities, the 41 counties and the capital Bucharest were elected. 
    “My priority for the next legislative period is to invest in all areas accessing European funds. So far, the county has not made full use of this potential,” said Cionca in an interview.
    The former Romanian Minister of Labour and Member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies Claudia Boghicevici (PNL) and former councillorSergiu Bîlcea (PNL) were elected vice-presidents. ”Working at regional level will be a new experience for me, but it was a conscious choice and I look forward to the challenges. I want to build a foundation for infrastructure projects and social services to increase the quality of life in Arad “said Claudia Boghicevic to the news portal Ziare.

    Arad county borders with Hungary in the west and has a population of  430.629 (2011). The county is member of the IRE network since 2008.

    Regions and cities launch investment plan for a citizen-centred EU: A fresh start for Europe

    The EU must address an alarming fall in public investment in order to tackle growing regional disparity, support sustainable growth and restore faith among citizens, said politicians across Europe today during a two-day Summit of Regions and Cities in Bratislava. 

    A week after Slovakia took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time, local and regional leaders have adopted a declaration during the 7th European Summit of Regions and Cities on 8th of July 2016 in the Slovak capital that calls on the EU to improve regulation and attract greater private-public investment to create more jobs and tackle the investment gap.
    “If we are to restore faith in the EU, we must demonstrate how joint EU operations benefit citizens’ daily lives. Citizens demand results, which is why investment – in people, places and ideas – must start locally. Around 60% of public investments within the EU are made by local and regional authorities. Policymakers need to redirect all their efforts to increasing public and private investment in all the European regions. It is no longer business as usual. We must spread a new and innovative entrepreneurial mind-set across Europe,” said Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR).

    The representative of Land Salzburg in the CoR Prof. Dr. Franz Schausberger met in Bratislava with a number of regional representatives from across Europe, including the president of the Croatian region Brod-Posavina Danijel Marušić and invited him to the 12th Conference European Regions and cities to Salzburg, which takes place from the 25th – 27th  September 2016. The IRE has organized this conference for the past 12 years, which brings together more than 200 public officials and representatives from business every year to boost investment in the regions. New company locations and new job opportunities are being established in the regions.
    The IRE network of more than 130 members compromises already 17 regions and cities from Croatia, which resulted in a big benefit for the regions during Croatia’s EU accession two years ago. Brod-Posavina is a member of the IRE network since 2014.
    Source: CoR press release 08.07.2016

    News from IRE members: Land Hessia celebrates 70 years

    Regional Prime Minister Volker Bouffier and State Secretary Lucia Puttrich: “Hessia is 70 years old and in good shape”.

    High-profile personalities from politics, business, science and culture met this year for the annual Hessen Festival in the Hessian State Representation in Berlin. About 2000 guests from Hessia, Brussels and Berlin and numerous Ambassadors took the opportunity to talk about the past year and the tasks ahead. Hessia is one of the 16 German states.

    Prime Minister Bouffier said: “Hessia is 70 years old and in good shape. Since the foundation of the state it has become one of the strongest economic regions in Europe. Several generations have contributed to a state, which offers more than ever before. Something we can all be proud of. “
    On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the German-Polish Neighbourhood Treaty Hessia also invited its Polish partner region Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), whose Vice Marshal Krzysztof Grabowski was present at the event. State Secretary Puttrich explained that Hessia is in a dialogue with Poland for many years. “Nowadays, our European Union is being put to a severe test. Therefore, it is more important than ever to fight in great unity for our community and our values”.
    Source: Land Hessen, Press Release 05.07.2016

    International Know-How for Regional Migration Policy

    Intensifying the cooperation between ICMPD and IRE:

    IRE chairman Prof. Dr. Franz Schausberger met with former Austrian vice chancellor Dr. Michael Spindelegger in Vienna, who holds the office of Director General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) since January 2016. They discussed the current migration situation in Europe and both agreed that regions play an important part in migration and immigration policy and need to be granted a stronger say on this topic.

    Michael Spindelegger will take part in the 12th Conference of European Regions and Cities, which takes place from the 25th-27th of September 2016 in Salzburg, and is one of the keynote speakers on the subject of „sustainable integration“. The ICMPD and IRE will intensify their cooperation in future.

    The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) was established by Austria and Switzerland in 1993 and has since grown to 15 member states. ICMPD was founded to carry out research, projects and activities on migration-related issues and to provide policy recommendations to the governmental agencies of states, as well as to external governmental and intergovernmental agencies. ICMPD also has observer status at the United Nations. Although ICMPD has global operations, it is primarily focused on the European area and is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. ICMPD is currently composed of 15 Member States, around 200 staff members, a mission in Brussels, as well as representatives in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East.
    ICMPD cooperates with governments, other international organisations, research institutes and members of civil society in developing policies in migration-related areas, as well organising trainings, etc. to transfer know-how on dealing with migration issues.

    For more information see:

    New Member from Georgia: Borjomi joins the IRE-network

    The Georgian city of Borjomi has joint the IRE-network, which now consist of more than 130 members.

    Borjomi (Georgian: ბორჯომი) is a resort town in south-central Georgia with a population of 13,826. It is one of the districts of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and is situated in the northwestern part of the region in the picturesque Borjomi Gorge on the eastern edge of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. The town is famous for its mineral water industry (which is the number one export of Georgia), the Romanov summer palace in Likani, and the World Wide Fund for Nature-site Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park.  The bottling of mineral water is a major source of income for the area. Because of the supposed curative powers of the area’s mineral springs, it is a frequent destination for people with health problems. Borjomi is also home to the most extensive ecologically-themed amusement park in the Caucasus.

    Borjomi was mentioned as Tori for the first time in the 7th century.  A historical trade route led through the canyon in Barjomi and was a military gateway to Georgia during times of war. Borjomi is now the second IRE member from Georgia and is represented by its mayor Dimitri Kipiani. The Autonomous Republic of Adjara has previously joined the network.  

    We are looking forward to the cooperation with Borjomi.