Austrian Success Project to be Implemented at European Level

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: July 12, 2022; 11:50 ♦ (Vindobona)

A successful project from Austria, which is intended to build a communicative "bridge" between the people at the local level and the institutions at the European level through EU representatives in municipalities, will in future be implemented at the European level and extended to all EU Member States.

The project "Europe starts in the community" is now to be implemented at European level. / Picture: © Flickr / Dimitar Nikolov / [CC BY-SA 2.0(]

The successful Austrian project "Europe starts in the community" will be implemented at the European level in the future. The project, which is to be extended to all 26 EU Member States in the coming years, confirms Austria's exemplary role in European communication and at the same time fulfils a demand made by Minister for Europe Karoline Edtstadler at the EU Future Conference.

What is the initiative "Europe starts in the community"?

The cross-party initiative "Europe starts in the community" has existed in Austria since 2010.

The network, which now numbers more than 1,500 European municipal councillors in 936 municipalities, builds the communicative "bridge" between the people at local and regional level and the institutions at Austrian and European level throughout Austria as Europan Minister Edtstadler also notes in a Twitter post.

The motto of the European Local Councils is: "The EU is not in Brussels or Strasbourg, but where people live and work. The European Local Councillors communicate EU content and keep citizens informed about current developments - for example by means of articles in municipal newspapers or on municipal websites, at Europe Day events or by organising "Europe regulars' tables".

They also bring relevant concerns and suggestions of the citizens to the attention of the Austrian federal government and the partner institutions of the initiative. The activities of the local councils are particularly important in that they are the first point of contact for questions and concerns at the local level.

Apart from so-called "Europa-Sprechstunden" (European consultation hours) held by the Minister for Europe in cooperation with the President of the Austrian Association of Municipalities, the European Municipal Councils in Austria are supported in their voluntary work by the team "Unser Europa. Our Municipality. team at the Federal Chancellery.

Project now at European level

Now the network is being extended by the European Commission to the other 26 EU Member States under the motto "Europe starts in the community" established by Austria.

"The fact that the initiative 'Europe starts in the community' will be implemented EU-wide in the future confirms Austria's exemplary role in communicating Europe," said a delighted Europe Minister Karoline Edtstadler, who thanked the European Commission for its efforts in this context.

"The European Local Councils are a best practice model and contribute significantly to a lively, diverse debate on European policy issues in Austria," emphasised the Minister for Europe.

The adoption of the initiative at the European level will also implement one of the conclusions of the "Conference on the Future of Europe" in the more than 320 measures called for there by the citizens.

The Minister for Europe said: "The great commitment and interest of the Austrians in the framework of the EU Future Conference has once again proven that citizens want to actively shape the future development of the EU.

This requires credible and competent contact persons on the ground. The European Local Councillors are the important and necessary 'faces' of the EU at local and regional level," Edtstadler emphasised.

Federal Chancellery of Austria