Air pollution and unpredictable fuel prices are problems, against which the EU has already taken a number of measures to improve the situation of its citizens. The conversion of the EU from fossil and nuclear fuels to renewable energies helps to reduce greenhouse gases and create a coordinated energy union.
Europe’s governments announced plans to create a coordinated energy union to further reduce dependency on fossil fuels. This does not only create economic advantages, but above all a sense of community, by which local citizens are more closely involved in their future energy.
from 24th to 26th of September 2017 in Salzburg
To this IRE- event in the Salzburg Congress we were able to win top-class speakers, inter alia minister Andrä Rupprechter, EU-Commissioner Johannes Hahn, the 6 Foreign/European Ministers of the West Balkans (Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina) as well as international participants.
Our conference is devoted this year to the theme “Next Generation – Attractive Regions and Cities for Future Generations”. Rural areas, renewable energy supply, start-up companies, new EU member states and private educational institutions are addressed and discussed.
This conference brings each year around 250 political and economic decision-makers from different regions of Europe together.
The participation in the conference is free of charge for IRE members, Sponsors, Regions, Cities, Municipalities, Diplomatic Services, Students and NGO’s.
The IRE plans to organize this conference on the criteria of the Austrian Ecolabel
The Citizens’ Initiative focuses on promoting direct communication of citizens with the Mayor and the City Administration. Through various communication channels (personal, via online media or via the web portal of citizens’ initiatives) citizens can submit issues, concerns and inquiries directly to the city government. Additionally, each month during the Open Doors Day, the mayor is personally available for talks with the citizens. Since last year, people can also get involved through the Information Office 65+ where comprehensive information on services and activities for the elderly and people with disabilities is available. This enables citizens to actively participate, to strengthen their sense of belonging and give feedback.
97 (out of 300) good practices were selected from 25 European countries. The City of Ljubljana saw this call as an opportunity to present Ljubljana’s good practices, to promote the recognition of the city, to deepen the participation in the creation of European policies in the field of sustainable urban development and to increase further cooperation with the EU.
The IRE has participated in the competition of the Austrian Foreign Ministry for the European State Award. Over 70 applications were submitted and that IRE came under the top 10 through its importance of regions and cities in European politics and in economic development.
Until today, more than 130 regions, cities, companies and cooperation partners have chosen the IRE as a principal interlocutor for the promotion and support of their interests on the European level.
In addition, the liaison office of the region of Salzburg in Brussels (“EU Information”) as well as the EU citizens’ service/Europe Direct Salzburg (“EU your Vision”) took part. We congratulate the prize-winner Katharina Moser (“Route 28″) from Salzburg, to whom the prize went!
The Europe State Award of the Federal Republic of Austria honours extraordinary commitment by citizens and organizations that promote greater European awareness and understanding of Europe. The European State Award, which is awarded for the third time this year, goes back to an initiative of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA) and is endowed with 10.000 Euros.
The CPMR Intermediterranean Commission declaration contributes to the debates on the future of the EU, cohesion and the multilevel cooperation at basin level. It includes reflections on emerging strategies and initiatives, migration, neighborhood, youth, maritime affairs, tourism, climate, environment, water, energy and transports, amongst other themes. The General Assembly agenda reflected on following three main sections, which are outlined in the document:
- Future of the EU: Mediterranean views;
- Supporting emerging initiatives and strategies that can strengthen Mediterranean cooperation and governance towards sustainable development;
- Boosting sectoral policies at the core of regional sustainable development in the Mediterranean
It is open to all the different sub-national levels in Mediterranean countries and focuses on the development of the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and territorial cooperation, concentrating its efforts on transport and integrated maritime policy, economic and social cohesion, water and energy. Furthermore, it is calling for a macro-regional strategy for the Mediterranean and fostering the emergence of Mediterranean citizenship and improving migration policies.
The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) brings together 160 Regions in 25 States from the European Union & beyond. Representing over 200 million people, the CPMR campaigns in favor of a more balanced development of the European territory.
Global agenda of the meeting
High up-to-date topic for this year’s 13th Conference of European Regions and Cities in Salzburg
As the theme of the rural depopulation concerns the regions all over Europe, the IRE focuses on this topic in this year’s 13th Conference of European Regions and Cities in Salzburg: In a panel discussion, Elisabeth Köstinger (Member of the European Parliament), Thomas Stelzer (Governor of Upper Austria), Alois Steinbichler (Director General of Kommunalkredit Austria AG), Robert Thaler (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Environment and Water Management), Gerlind Weber (University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna) and Kurt Weinberger (Director General of the Österreichische Hagelversicherung) will discuss on how to make rural regions attractive for future generations.
“We need more opportunities for Austrian regions, we want more perspectives for people in the country”, emphasized Federal Minister Andrä Rupprechter concerning the master plan, which has emerged as the largest participation process so far in rural areas. Since the beginning of the year, more than 3,000 participants and experts from all over Austria have formulated concrete perspectives and measures for the future of rural areas. The spectrum of the strategic document ranges from digitization to decentralization, from energy development to the honorary office, from child care to culture, and from health to green care. ”The commitment within the framework of the Master Plan process shows that a new movement was initiated. Strong regions are not a matter of course, but our shared responsibility”, said the Minister.
Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Governor of Lower Austria, emphasized that “especially in digitization, deregulation and decentralization, there are great future opportunities for additional jobs in rural regions”. With the presentation of the Master Plan for Rural Areas, the implementation phase starts contemporaneously. Support is provided by the former Governor of Lower Austria and IRE-Patron Erwin Pröll, who will coordinate the implementation measures as Master Plan patron.
The West Balkans still have prospects for an approach to the EU. In addition, a joint economic area of the countries of the Western Balkans will provide for growth and employment as well as more cross-border cooperation. Concrete measures for regional cooperation and the better connection of infrastructures, economies and people were agreed upon.
The establishment of the Western Balkans Regional Economic Area aims at developing an area where goods, services, investments and skilled workers can move without obstacles. In this way, the market for potential investors is expanded into the region, providing access to nearly 20 million consumers. This promotes the economic attractiveness of the western Balkan regions, whereby trade relations with the EU can also be used. The concept will be put into operation through a multi-year action plan which included the dimensions trade, investment, mobility and digital market. To this end, measures to successfully implement the additional protocols to the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) need to be taken into account, a regional investment approach needs to be developed, obstacles to the mobility of qualified workers through the mutual recognition of professional qualifications needs to be removed, mobility for students, researchers and university teachers should be facilitated as well as extending roaming and broadband networks.