News from Brussels:
At the third enlargement days in Brussels on 31 May and 1 June 2017, representatives of local and regional authorities from the enlargement countries and from the EU were able to present their views on the enlargement of the European Union in joint advisory committees and working groups. The latest political developments and their impact on the regional level as well as the promotion of business start-ups to create jobs were discussed.
Hence, strong and functioning regions as well as municipalities play an utterly important role in this process. According to CoR Vice-President Karlheinz Lambertz, therefore, a top-down approach for enlargement processes is by no means sufficient, the regions and local authorities would have to be taken from the outset of the development. As the EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn agreed in highlighting the citizens’ role of the regions and municipalities in the enlargement process.With Salzburg’s former governor and IRE-Chairman Franz Schausberger as his special advisor for the regional and local level in the enlargement countries, he is trying to do justice to this and to involve the various regions. Franz Schausberger himself analyzed that the Western Balkans countries are currently developing positively through judicial and administrative reforms. “However, in almost all of these countries the process of reform is constantly being blocked by nationalist and ethnic tensions as well as the inability for a political dialogue“, Schausberger explained. Furthermore, other topics were focusing on youth unemployment, constitutional reforms and regional co-operation to strengthen potential candidate countries for EU-membership.
From left to right: Dimitrios Kalogeropoulos (politically accountable to the Municipal Council of Palaio Falir, Greece), Heinz Lehman (member of the Saxon Landtag), David McAllister (former minister of Lower Saxony and now Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur on Serbia) and Franz Schausberger (IRE-Chairman und Special Advisor to EU-Commissioner Hahn)
In all countries of the West Balkans high unemployment is a problem, especially unemployment among young people, which is over 50 per cent in each country. The reason is not due to the fact that the existing education system produces too many university graduates from sectors that are not necessarily needed by the economy. “The model of dual vocational training in Austria and successful tourism schools, such as in Salzburg, would majorly contribute to improving the employment of young people in the countries of the Western Balkans”, said Chairman of the working group “West Balkan”, Franz Schausberger. This would give the young people and generation a prospect of a future in their various home countries and they would not be forced to move into an uncertain future abroad.