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    New employee at the IRE:

    After Martina Balazic changed her profession this may after almost four years at the IRE, Julia Soldo is now her substitute and responsible for the IRE Office Management Administration.

     Julia was born in 1998 in Salzburg. Grown up bi-lingual (German and Croatian), Croatian roots gave opportunity to easily learn languages (Russian, English and French), which was facilitated by the education in HAKII Salzburg, within the field of “International Business”. 

    Simultaneously, opportunities to go abroad arose from social engagement and language-contests.  Most notably, the international Russian-Olympics in Moscow, as well as regional and national wins at speaking competitions.

    The IRE thanks Ms. Balazic for her valid support and wishes her good luck and success in her bright future. More information about the new employee can be found on the IRE-Website 
    Julia Soldo
    Office Management, Partner Desk, Conference Organisation & Regional Activities
    Tel: +43 662 843 288 10

    30.09-02.10. 2018: SALZBURG SUMMIT – “Europe 1918 – 2018 – 2118″ Salzburg, Austria

    14th Conference of European Regions and Cities “Europe 1918 – 2018 – 2118″ in Salzburg, Austria. The annual Conference of European Regions and Cities will be organized on current themes for regions and cities of Europe with a view to future strategies and challenges for politics and business.

    Reasons to Participate


    Hotel Booking

    More information under:

    E:                          T: +43 (0)662/84 32 88 – 0

    F: +43 (0)662/84 32 88 – 5050     


    Together with:

    Bildergebnis für land salzburg     Bildergebnis für stadt salzburg


    Kindly supported by:

      Bildergebnis für european commission Bildergebnis für european parliament     Bildergebnis für austrian development cooperation        


    Main Sponsors:

    Bildergebnis für erste bank group logo  Bildergebnis für uniqa


    Private Sponsors:

    Bildergebnis für WKO      Bildergebnis für österreichische hagelversicherungBildergebnis für österreichische nationalbank            Bildergebnis für SalzburgerLand Tourismus GmbH   Bildergebnis für itg salzburg

    Bildergebnis für apg           FH Salzburg Logo (RGB), jpg  

    2nd International IRE- Expert Conference: “Cultural Heritage” in Novi Sad, Serbia

    “Cultural Heritage – Added value for the Regions of Europe”

    Common European Cultural Heritage in the Western Balkans – International IRE Conference in cooperation with the appointment of the City of Novi Sad as European Capital of Culture 2021.

    For the second time, the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) organized, under the direction of former Governor Univ. Prof. Dr. Franz Schausberger, on the 27th of April 2018 a conference on “Cultural heritage – Added value for the Regions” on the occasion of the nomination of the City of Novi Sad (Serbia) as European Capital of Culture 2021. In cooperation with the Central European Initiative (CEI), the City of Novi Sad and the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, the conference took place in the Regional Parliament of AP Vojvodina, highlighting the great importance of cultural heritage for all European cities and regions, but above all for the candidate countries.

    Cultural heritage has an important value for all regions, cities, communities and societies. The preservation and salvation of cultural heritage is an important emotional criterion for Serbia’s EU integration, and forms the core for the common European cultural heritage by strengthening its regional identity. “By cultivating our cultural heritage, we can continue to preserve Europe’s cultural diversity”, said IRE-Chairman Franz Schausberger, opening the conference. The former Governor of Salzburg also pointed out that a common European culture can only be achieved if it is based on a specific regional cultural identity. Above all, cultural heritage should be the foundation of a European vision for prosperity.

    Schausberger presented Pásztor the Friendship Chalice of the Institute of the Regions of Europe


    When we talk about cultural heritage, we do not only talk about the past, but also talk about preserving the culture of today and tomorrow. It is about “values of the past that we transfer into the future to preserve the heritage of our culture, including cross-border cooperation and the conditions of cohesion, if these circumstances are not ensured we cannot preserve the cultural heritage”, said the President of the Regional Parliament of AP Vojvodina, István Pásztor, in his speech. In addition, he emphasized the diversity of cultural heritage as it encompasses various territories, multiculturalism and inherited culture. The ability to understand a common interest, regardless of political directions, should be at the center of the daily process of perception. This is an example of the city of Novi Sad’s claim to be a pioneer when it comes to carefully and actively shaping its future.

    In Serbia, and especially in the city of Novi Sad, many ethnic groups live in harmony. Dalibor Rožić (Member of the City Council for Culture) emphasized at the conference that Novi Sad also promotes “universal, lasting and shared values”. The Novi Sad Cultural Administration supports projects of national minorities aimed at preserving their traditions and cultures, while promoting initiatives for the recognition and emphasis of the common.

    Another perspective was given by Dragana Milošević (Provincial Secretary for Culture, Public Information and relations with Religious Communities of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina) in her speech, when she stressed the interconnectedness of cultures that influence the regions and thus the cultural heritage itself. Fortresses, monuments, folklore and archeology are examples that show the different aspects of history.

    For Paul-Henri Presset, Head of Information, Communication and Press, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, the main focus lies on citizens: “Making them aware of their own national identity a key to the EU accession process. Providing them with greater opportunities for their own future is the foundation of sustainable prevention”. Cross-border and regional cooperation within Serbia and with the EU are important in preserving cultural heritage for generations to come. The EU supports cultural heritage and social cohesion in Serbia.

    Regarding regional policy and social cohesion, Johannes Irschick, Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum of the Austrian Embassy in Belgrade, focuses on joint regional projects for the preservation and promotion of regional cultural heritage. “It cannot only foster our mutual understanding of supraregional heritage, but also local and tourism development and to initiate regional projects requires common strategies and funding mechanisms”, said the director.


    From left to right: Franz Schausberger, Paul-Henri Presset, Johannes Irschick, István Pásztor, Dragana Milošević and Dalibor Rožić


    Best-Practice Examples of Cultural Heritage Protection and its Financing

    Cultural heritage contributes to promoting social cohesion across Europe and provides a framework for participation, engagement, promotion of integration and cooperation. In the opening speech of the Panel “Best Practice Examples of Cultural Heritage Protection and its Financing”, Norbert Beckmann-Dierkes (Head of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation for Serbia and Montenegro in Belgrade) spoke about the current situation of the Western Balkan countries “which are on the right track to the EU, for example by investing in cultural goods. Together, a cultural city can be built and Novi Sad represents such a city”.

    However, in order to be part of the cultural path to the EU, the cultural asset “is economically, politically and socially important, which transcends borders, nationalities and regions”, said Asja Drača Muntean (Representative of Serbia to the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe of Ministry of Culture and Information in Belgrade). In her opinion, a step towards the EU would be to start with small programs to gain experience.

    Additionally, Ketrina Çabiri Mijo, Head of the project “Network Creation and Promotion of Castles” in Albania, highlighted the importance of sustainable and above all stable projects. “In Albania, cultural goods are not limited to castles, but are extended to f.e. churches”. For this reason, a common understanding of what culture means should be developed.

    Boran Ivanoski (NALAS program officer for the Sustainable Tourism Task Force in Skopje, Macedonia) goes one step further, stressing that “good cooperation at local and regional government level is important to promote, among other things, tourism. Above all, this would bring social, economic and environmental effects”, says Ivanoski. For this purpose, NALAS offers position papers on concrete measures and recommendations for sustainable development.

    For Adrian Tibu, Director of the Municipal Theater “Gong” in the City of Sibiu in Romania, is the key to success “the attitude to be ready to be part of the EU”. The combination of culture and tourism would lead to benefits and opportunities, innovative programs and services are inevitable tools to make the cultural heritage accessible to citizens and visitors towards Europe. There are still daily cultural events and volunteer programs are taken place in the city of Sibiu in the framework of the Capital of Culture.

    In Europe, the wealth of historical buildings and sites, historical neighborhoods and cultural landscapes is visible to the people. For Katarina Živanović (Archaeologist Europanostra Serbia) “cultural heritage provides European countries and regions with a unique identity, a basis for developing cultural tourism and attracting investment”. To sum up, cultural heritage is a key component and contributes to the attractiveness of European regions and cities. In this way, it creates jobs and attracts talent, companies and investors.


    From left ro right: Asja Drača Muntean, Boran Ivanoski, Adrian Tibu, Bosko Negovanovic (Moderator), Katarina Živanović and Ketrina Çabiri Mijo


    Regional Cultural Heritage – A European Vision for Prosperity

    In the panel discussion “Regional Cultural Heritage – A European Vision for Prosperity”, Nemanja Milenković, Director of the Foundation Novi Sad (FNS20201), emphasized in his keynote that cultural heritage goes beyond the national framework. It was inherited from the ancestors, represents a way of life and shapes regions and cities. “Social development therefore influences what we understand by cultural heritage”, says Milenković.

    Cultural Heritage will be celebrated throughout the year 2018 with various events and activities aimed at strengthening the common European identity and providing new impetus for the development of social and economic sectors throughout Europe. “In order to develop the cultural heritage of nations in the long term, it must be protected in the case of threatening situations, so many state and non-governmental organizations are actively involved in the process of cultural heritage protection”, Leylya Strobl (Board Member of the Austrian Blue Shield Committee, Austrian Roerich Society)further explained in her speech. The exchange of ideas and innovations for sustainable development, based on the international concept of human rights, is essential for the protection of cultural heritage. The aim is therefore to raise awareness of cultural heritage in civil society. “Only governments alone cannot handle this task”, explained Strobl. The UNESCO-affiliated NGO “Blue Shield International” is an internationally recognized organization operating in 28 countries and working to protect cultural assets.

    Tijana Palkovljević Bugarski, Director of the Matica Srpska Gallery in Novi Sad, pointed to the question of a “national culture”. The gallery not only illustrates Serbian art, but also deals with the processes of protection of Serbian cultural heritage in the region, especially in Hungary and Romania. “We need not only national identity or culture, but also the embedding in European culture, a broader view of Serbian cultural heritage in the European context, because cultural heritage knows no borders”, expressed Bugarski. She also pointed out that these projects for the protection and prevention of secular and religious Serbian art, cooperation between Serbian, Hungarian and Romanian cultural institutions, develop and promote cultural diversity in the region.

    Another example was provided by Marija Budimir (Head of Tourism and Culture in the Vukovar Srijem in Croatia), stressing the importance of intangible heritage, such as cultural festivals that to preserve the cultural goods.

    Tomislav Paljak, Vice-President of the Varaždin County in Croatia, emphasized the common history in this context and referred to the closeness between Novi Sad and Varaždin. The decay of cultural heritage is an “inefficient way of dealing with culture. To revitalize a region, there is a need for skilled workers”, highlighted the Vice-President. EU projects would contribute to the preservation of cultural assets.

    Financing transnational projects is important for both cities and regions. “In order to promote prosperity and preserve the cultural heritage for future generations, the EU supports various projects related to this theme with the most important programs for Serbia being the Creative Europe Program and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) ‘Creative Europe’ funds projects around the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in the regions, enabling the revitalization of objects and the purchase of equipment that can stimulate culture development and progress”, stated Mina Radmilovic Pjevac (Antenna Creative Europe Culture Desk Serbia, European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina).

    According to Dimitrije Tadić, Head of the Creative Europe Culture Desk in Serbia, an intensive exchange of sustainable concepts, not only at national but also at regional level, is necessary for cooperation with the EU. “Priorities and objectives are needed to fund sustainable projects, so a detailed regional and state-level exchange is the first step”, explained Tadić.

    To create awareness, one must preserve the value of the past. The origin of the cultural heritage is that a modern person must determine themselves in relation to their own past. “It is the past whose cultural value is recognized in the present. The existence of the common heritage therefore always includes the recognition of common values. On the one hand, taking care of these values while cultivating all layers of testimony about the common past can lead to social well-being. On the other hand, indifference certainly leads to social disorientation”, concluded Milan Popadić (UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management, University of Belgrade).

    To create awareness, one must preserve the value of the past. The origin of the cultural heritage is that a modern person must determine themselves in relation to their own past. “This is the past whose cultural value is acknowledged in the present, so the existence of the common heritage always involves the recognition of common values, and caring for those values while cultivating all layers of testimony on the common past can become social Prosperity on the other hand, indifference certainly leads to social disorientation”.  

    From left to right: Dimitrije Tadić, Leylya Strobl Bosko Negovanovic (Moderator), Mina Radmilović Pjevac, Tijana Palkovljević Bugarski, Marija Budimir, Tomislav Paljak, Milan Popadić and Nemanja Milenkovic

    The Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) has been dedicated to strengthening regions and cities throughout Europe for around 15 years. The aim of the conference was to present best practice examples of the preservation of cultural heritage in various European regions, especially in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, in order to exchange experiences and knowledge for the preservation of cultural assets. Experts and politicians from all over Europe attended the conference to discuss innovative financing mechanisms as well as sustainable approaches to regional and local cultural heritage conservation activities.

    IRE-Chairman Franz Schausberger has held bilateral talks with, among others, the President of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Ištvan Pásztor, on the European Commission’s recent progress report on Serbia and on the EU’s Western Balkans Enlargement Strategy. The importance of preserving the cultural heritage, which is a cornerstone of the European Union, was emphasized. Around 120 participants from eight European countries participated in the international conference in Serbia. Conference partners in Novi Sad were the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Serbia, Europa Nostra, Blue Shield International, Raiffeisenbank International AG (Serbia), the Council of Europe, European Institute of Cultural Routes and the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA).


    Franz Schausberger awarded the honorary doctorate by the “Alexander Moissi University” in Durres/Albania

    Franz Schausberger, University Professor of Modern History at the University of Salzburg and former Governor of Salzburg, was awarded the title “Doctor Honoris Causa” (DDr., Hc) on the 22nd of May 2018 by the state university “Aleksandër Moisiu” in Durres (Albania). Schausberger Franz was awarded the title of honorary doctor “for his outstanding contribution to the European historical sciences and his scientific expertise for the integration of Albania and the other countries of the Western Balkans into the European Union”.

    The Rector of the University, Prof. Dr. Ksenela Sotirofski emphasised: “This honorary doctor award is due to Schausberger’s valuable contributions in the field of science and politics, especially in questions of European integration”. Prof. Dr. Franz Schausberger has been passionately committed to the integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union for many years. He has organized numerous conferences, seminars, meetings and panels, as well as published papers that have highlighted the problems and suggested possible solutions to speed up the EU integration of the Western Balkan countries.

    The application to the Academic Senate for the honorary doctorate for Prof. Schausberger was made by Prof. Enver Bytyci. The Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Prof. Dr. Andon Kume, who gave the eulogy, praised Prof. Schausberger’s work as a historian, scholar, and politician and above all, highlighted the many years of close collaboration between his Institute of the Regions of Europe and various universities and other scientific institutions in the Western Balkans.

    The award ceremony was attended by members of the Academic Senate, lecturers and students of the Aleksandër Moisiu University (UAMD), professors and scholars in the field of history and political science.

    Prof. Schausberger was pleased with the honor of being part of the UAMD family and expressed his willingness to promote the values of the University in Austria and beyond. He also entered Salzburg’s special relationship with the name of the university, the famous Austrian-Albanian actor Alexander Moissi, an Albanian descent, born in Trieste, spent part of his youth in Durres and played from the founding of the Salzburg Festival in 1920 for many years the “Jedermann”. “My special thanks go to the students attending this ceremony, and I pledge you that I continue working hard to bring you into the big European family as soon as possible”, Schausberger said.

    Ksenela Sotirofski with Franz Schausberger

    Discussion on future cooperation between the IRE and the Regional Parliament of Wielkopolska Voivodeship

    Delegation from Poland visited the IRE in Salzburg:

    A delegation of the Regional Parliament of the Wielkopolska  Voivodeship (Greater Poland) led by the president of the regional parliament, Zofia Szalczyk, visited the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) on the 28th of May 2018 and met the IRE chairman Franz Schausberger and Secretary General Joachim Fritz for a detailed discussion. President Zofia Szalczyk was accompanied by the Deputy-President of the Regional Parliament Mirosława Rutkowska-Krupka and the President of the Committee of Regional Development Strategy and International Relations, Mikołaj Grzyb, as well as members of three parliamentary groups of the regional parliament. As President Zofia Szalczyk emphasized, the visit was intended to strengthen cooperation between her Voivodeship and the Austrian provinces. Due to the good geographic location of the Wielkopolska Voivodeship and the excellent traffic connection with Moscow, Berlin and Warsaw, the region is ideally suited for foreign investors. This is also reflected in the fact that already 4,000 foreign companies have settled in this region.

    After Wielkopolska was heavily influenced by agriculture, it wants to learn more about the exemplary organic farming in Austria, especially with regard to the agricultural products and marketing. In terms of tourism, the Polish regions are trying to win over the city of Poznan with a length of 350 km for sports enthusiasts from Austria by expanding the river ring.
    The development of cross-border regional cooperation is one of the priorities of the IRE. It was agreed to intensify this in further meetings.

    Franz Schausberger and Zofia Szalczyk

    Appeal for a “citizen-close” EU on the annual Europe Day

    To visualize how great the loss would be if the EU breaks apart – that is one of the concerns of the annual Europe Day, which was celebrated this year in Bad Reichenhall on the 28th of May 2018 with a ceremony in the concert rotunda. Therein,former Governor of Salzburg Prof. Franz Schausberger spoke. He campaigned for a citizen-oriented EU, in which individual countries should not isolate themselves. Nevertheless, Europe’s borders must be secured externally. Even if one can not approve of their policies on all points, one must be glad that Hungary and Austria have largely blocked the Balkan route for refugees. In order to avoid refugee flows from Africa in the future, one must start with a new policy in Africa. So far, development aid has often only supported the local potentates and brought little to the peoples.

    At the ceremony, the Europa-Union Berchtesgadener Land, the administrative district Berchtesgadener Land, the city of Bad Reichenhall and the Reichenhaller philharmonic orchestra had jointly invited. In his greeting, Dr. Lackner emphasized what great value Europe has for all citizens. Furthermore he referred that a life in peace and freedom is a great gift and by no means self-evident.

    The keynote speaker, Professor Franz Schausberger, took up this topic. The long-term cooperation of the countries in the European Union has brought a great boon, and citizens should participate in their further development at all levels. He recalled that the founding fathers, in establishing state-level coalitions in Europe, aimed at ending old hostilities, not least for economic reasons, between peoples.

    For his committed advocacy for a close-to-the-citizen formation of the EU Reichenhall, Lord Mayor Herbert Lackner (left) and District Representative Rudolf Schaupp (right) thanked the keynote speaker Franz Schausberger
     Source:, Dieter Moosleitner

    Clear victory of the ÖVP at Salzburg state election (Landtag)

    Landslide victory for Governor Haslauer:
    The state election in Salzburg took place on the 22nd of April 2018. Over 390,000 were eligible to vote on Sunday to elect a new government in the province of Salzburg. Voter turnout was 64.9 percent.The ÖVP is the big winner of the state election. The top candidate Wilfried Haslauer made the expected victory on Sunday. The party achieved a proud 37.8 percent, an increase of 8.8 percentage points to the last election in 2013. Thus, the party provides 15 (+4 seats) of the 36 seats in the state parliament (Landtag).

    Governor Wilfried Haslauer

    The SPÖ reached the second place with 20 percent. However, the party with leading contender Walter Steidl touched -3.8 percentage points to the previous election in 2013 losses. The party now occupies eight seats (-1) in the Salzburg Parliament.

    The FPÖ with candidate Marlene Svazek came to 18.8 percent. That means an increase of 1.8 percentage points and the third place of the election. The Freedom Party will be represented with three mandates (+1) in the state parliament.

    The greatest loss of all parties is recorded by the Greens. They lost 10.9 percentage points after the provisional final result and came to 9.3 percentage points and only 3 (-4) seats.

    Winners are also the Neos. The top candidate Sepp Schellhorn reached 7.3 percent of the vote and is represented with three mandates in the state parliament. The remaining lists remained below the necessary 5 percent hurdle. In total, five political groups are represented in the parliament.


    Source:,,, APA/Neumayr/Leo

    13th NALAS General Assembly in Slovenia

    On the 18th of April 2018, IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger, representing the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Karl Heinz Lambertz and Special Adviser to Commissioner Johannes Hahn, attended the 13th General Assembly of NALAS in Brdo, Slovenia.

    In his keynote speech Schausberger underlined that NALAS is a very important network of associations of local authorities of South East Europe as well as an important strategic partner for the European Union, especially for the Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission. Furthermore, he referred to the fruitful partnership und tight cooperation with the European Committee of the Regions and subsequently proposed that NALAS should be integrated and promoted to a greater extent at European level.
    Schausberger pointed to the 6th of February 2018, where the European Commission presented a comprehensive Western Balkans strategy, which is intends to give the six countries a perspective towards 2025. However, the Chairman sees the year 2025 neither as a fixed accession date nor a target, but only as a possible time horizon. The countries of the Western Balkans must therefore achieve reconciliation and solve open issues together, ahead of the accession.

    From left to right: Mico Micic (former NALAS President), Darko Fras (NALAS President) and Emanuil Manolov (Vice-President)

    The entire Western Balkans region is surrounded by EU member states. Under no circumstances, explained Schausberger, should we allow forces from outside Europe – like Russia, Turkey, reactionary Islamic states or China – to take the place of the EU.
    „It is well-known that not all EU member states are in favor of enlargement by the Western Balkan states. However, they all must finally agree to the accession of new EU Member States and therefore need to be prepared for enlargement and convinced that the enlargement strategy not only offers a great historical opportunity for the countries of the Western Balkans, but also for the EU itself“, Schausberger closed his speech.


    Petre Šilegov (Major of Skopje) with Franz Schausberger

    EU regional funding easier and more targeted in the future

    The future of EU finances – Cohesion policy after 2020:

    On the 12th of March 2018, Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu debated the future of cohesion policy at the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg. This was the last Council on cohesion before the Commission puts forward its proposal on the next long term EU budget, on the 2nd of May, with the post-2020 cohesion policy proposal following closely. Discussions focused on the future scope and priorities of the policy.

    Commissioner Creţu stated her conviction that Europe furthermore needs a cohesion policy for all regions. But the status quo is not an option; the Commissioner highlighted the need for more flexibility, a more tailored approach to regional needs, with a new allocation method and new indicators for example, as well as a stronger link between cohesion policy and structural reforms. On priorities for investments; ”we know the growing impact globalisation is having on regions,” said the Commissioner, stressing the necessity to help regions achieve industrial transition, embrace innovation and invest in their people, with the help of smart specialisation. The Commissioner also mentioned the need for a long-term response to the migration challenge, supported by cohesion policy.

    Source: European Commission- Daily News 12/04/2018

    Copyright © 2018 Institute of the Regions of Europe