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IRE - Newsletter - 50 | 2022       

Help for municipalities against the energy crisis

Like all other crises we are confronted with, we will only solve the energy crisis together - EU, member states, regions and municipalities. And of course in solidarity with the citizens, explained Franz Schausberger at the CoR plenary session on December 1, 2022 in Brussels.

Brussels. The energy crisis and the associated enormous price increases have enormous consequences not only for the low-income sections of the people, but above all for the municipalities and the municipal services of general interest. This leads to major problems at the municipal level, especially in critical infrastructure such as schools, nursing homes, hospitals and kindergartens. And of course that affects the individual citizens in turn.
It is gratifying that the European Commission has adapted the provisions for unused funds from the structural programs amounting to 40 billion so that they can be used to deal with the problems mentioned. The member states must now use these funds primarily in the regions and municipalities.
Direct subsidies, electricity cost controls and anti-inflation packages from national governments can cushion the impact, but they can never fully compensate for the global effects.
The Austrian federal government is trying to counteract the energy and price crisis with targeted measures, for example with a total of 3.8 billion euros for the Austrian municipalities and cities for municipal investments and for increasing energy efficiency and the expansion of renewable energy sources. In addition, there is an electricity cost brake for around 80 percent of average household consumption and an anti-inflation package with a total volume of €28.7 billion for the period 2022-2026.
Austria has been able to reduce its dependence on Russian gas from 80 percent to 20 percent since February 2022, and the natural gas storage facilities in Austria are around 95 percent full.

Meeting with Director General Wolfgang Burtscher

IRE chairman Franz Schausberger and Michaela Petz-Michez, head of the EU liaison office of the Land Salzburg, met with Wolfgang Burtscher to exchange views on the development of rural areas in Europe. The Austrian Wolfgang Burtscher has been Director General for Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Commission since April 2020. Previously, he was, among other things, Deputy Director General for Research and Innovation as well as a member of the Constitutional Court.

Since April 2020, the Austrian Wolfgang Burtscher has been Director General for Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Commission.

Strong representation of European regions in Brussels

A strong representation in Brussels is a high priority for both the Free State of Bavaria and the State of Salzburg. During the plenary session, IRE chairman Franz Schausberger, as Salzburg member of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), and member of the state parliament Tobias Gotthardt, as representative of Bavaria in the CoR, discussed current challenges such as inflation, the energy crisis and migration for the regions.

A big thank you went to the committed heads of the respective liaison and information offices: Ms. Michael Petz-Michez, head of the Salzburg liaison office to the EU and Ms. Julia Pleiel, lawyer in the Salzburg liaison office, as well as Ms. Carolin-Charlotte Kosel, head of the contact and information office of the Bavarian Parliament in Brussels.

f.l.t.r. Carolin-Charlotte Kosel, Tobias Gotthardt, Franz Schausberger, Michaela Petz-Michez, Julia Pleiel

The importance of European cohesion funds.

A group of 40 mayors from the counties of Brașov and Vrancea visited the Committee of the Regions in Brussels to exchange views and good practices on decentralisation, multi-level governance, EU funds, the reconstruction of Ukraine and the energy crisis that is affecting our citizens, our economy and tourism.

Brussels. Adrian Ioan Veștea, President of Brașov County Council and President of The National Union of County Councils in Romania (UNCJR) highlighted the importance of territorial cohesion and its future, decentralization and multi-level governance, cooperation and partnership at the local and national level as well as the essential role of the optimal use of European funds according to the needs and particularities of local communities, but also to solidarity and the resilience needed to adapt and rebuild regardless of future crises.

Cătălin Toma, President of Vrancea County Council talked about the potential of his region and the direct financial support that is needed: "The region of Vrancea is one of the most important areas for viticulture in Romania with a huge potential for cultural and wellness tourism. We need direct funding for this region in order to offer the proper opportunity for our citizens to create jobs in these fields, new businesses and create synergies with similar regions as ours."

Franz Schausberger (middle) Cătălin Toma and Adrian Ioan Veștea.

Meeting with Archbishop Polycarpus

During the Archbishop's visit to the Institute of the Regions of Europe, the complex situation in the Middle East was on the agenda.

Salzburg. Archbishop Polykarpus, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of the Netherlands for the Syriac Orthodox Church, paid a visit to the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE). The conversation with IRE chairman Franz Schausberger included the complex situation of the churches in the Middle East and the effects of the war.

The Syrian Orthodox Church is an Oriental Orthodox Church with around 1.5 million believers, especially in the Middle East, but also as far afield as India. Its headquarters are in Damascus, Syria.

Archbishop Polykarpus and Franz Schausberger in Salzburg.
Save the Date
19th Salzburg Europe Summit
"Europe and Peace"

24th - 26th September 2022
Salzburg Congress
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