Group photo of the German and Austrian CoR Members with Commissioner Oettinger
EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger together with Franz Schausberger
However, quite a lot separates the two parties ideologically. Many SVP officials reject the positions of the right-wing populist Lega in the areas of Europe and migration. There is also some doubt as to how serious the Lega – co-governing in Rome – is with the autonomy of South Tyrol.
With 65 votes in favour, 11 against, seven abstentions and a heated internal debate, the SVP voted in favour of negotiations with the Lega. They referred to it as “technical cooperation” and agreed on a so-called “catalogue of values”.
On 17 January 2019, the former Governor Arno Kompatscher (SVP) was re-elected governor for a second term with 19 of the 35 votes of the provincial parliament in favour of him.
Kompatscher emphasized that despite his new coalition partner, he would continue to stay critical on certain points of the Roman government. He explicitly referred to the catalogue of values contained in the coalition agreement, in which both parties profess their commitment to Europe and to social peace, to protecting the German and Ladin-speaking minority, to the further development of self-government, and to oppose any new centralism, exclusion and discrimination. He also renewed his offer to cooperate with the opposition.
On Friday, 25 January 2019, the vote on the new provincial government took place in the South Tyrolean provincial parliament. Of the 34 delegates present, 18 voted in favour of the proposal of Provincial Governor Arno Kompatscher, 16 against.
The provincial government consists of nine members:
• Arno Kompatscher (SVP), Provincial Governor with responsibility for foreign relations, Europe, municipalities, finance, human resources and information technology, university, research, innovation, museums and sport.
• Arnold Schuler (SVP), first Vice Governor, responsible for agriculture and forestry, civil defence and tourism.
• Giuliano Vettorato (Lega), second Vice Governor, responsible for Italian Education and Culture, Energy and Environment.
• Daniel Alfreider (SVP), third Vice Governor, responsible for Ladin Education and Culture, Transport Network and Mobility.
• Philipp Achammer (SVP), Provincial Councillor for German Education and Culture, Industry, Crafts, Trade and Services, Labor, Integration.
• Massimo Bessone (Lega) Provincial Councillor for Building Construction, Technical Service, Property, Land Registry, Cadastre.
• Waltraud Deeg (SVP) Provincial Councillor for Social Affairs, Housing, Family and Senior Citizens.
• Maria Hochgruber-Kuenzer (SVP) Provincial Councillor for Spatial Planning, Landscape Protection and Monument Protection.
• Thomas Widmann (SVP) Provincial Council for Health, Digital Infrastructure and Cooperative Systems.
Josef Noggler was proposed for the Office of the President of the Provincial Parliament by the SVP, the Greens nominated Paul Köllensperger. In a secret ballot, 19 votes were cast on Josef Noggler and 15 votes on Paul Köllensperger. Rita Mattei (Italian language group) and Manfred Vallazza (Ladin language group) were elected Vice-Presidents.
A delegation from the Republika Srpska, a constituent republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, headed by President Željka Cvijanović, as well as the chairman of the board of the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) Franz Schausberger, met the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Austrian Parliament, Reinhold Lopatka (ÖVP) for an in-depth talk on Thursday, 24 January 2019. The central topic of the talk was the political situation after the elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina in October 2018, which turns out to be very complex.
Austria’s relations with Bosnia-Herzegovina are close and very dense as well as very well developed at all levels. This has many reasons, historical and current ones. Austria has received 90,000 refugees during the Bosnian war in the 1990s. Around 20,000 still live in Austria today. Austrian companies are the strongest investors in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
CoR-Working Group Western Balkans in Tirana:
The Albanian territorial reform was the focus of deliberations of the Working Group Western Balkans of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), which met on 13th of November 2018 in the Albanian capital Tirana. Under the chairmanship of Franz Schausberger, representative of the state of Salzburg in the CoR and IRE board of directors, the CoR members discussed with numerous national and local representatives of Albania the effects of the reform and its implementation.
The Government of Albania since September 2013 started the process of an administrative and territorial reform aiming the reorganization of local governments units, to empower local and regional governments by decentralizing more functions and competencies and allocating more public funds to them. In July 2014, the Parliament approved the law “On the territorial and administrative division of local government units” reducing the number of Local Government Units from 384 to 61 municipalities. This law entered into force after local elections held in June 2015, and since then the local government in Albania operates through 61 municipalities. The 61 new municipalities should have more opportunities to take part in international cooperation projects; absorb more funds from EU and other donors; and enjoy larger bargaining power vis-à-vis the central government, as well as a greater scope for inter-municipal cooperation.
For the first time in Albania the central government should be obliged to consult local government representatives regarding decentralization, local finances and municipal functions. Through the newly established Consultative Council of Central Government and Local Self-Government both levels of authorities will be able to exchange and discuss any policies, laws or initiatives that affects local government and communities.
Territorial and administrative reform in Albania, is proceeding slowly and has created confusion, a mission of Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe that visited Albania in 2016, said. The budget of the Albanian government does not correspond to a net increase in the local authorities’ resources. An Italian study comes to the conclusion that the territorial and administrative reform has not generated the expected results. Almost 90 percent of the revenues still come from the central government’s unconditional transfers. Therefore, the Albanian Government should build capacities and skills, and train the employees of each level of government that currently benefit from international assistance.
In another session experiences with examples of municipal reform in other countries (Ukraine, Denmark and Austria) were presented.
Mayor of the city is Bashkim Shehu of the Democratic Party.
Source: invest-in-albania.org, Agjencia Telegrafike Shqiptare
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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