European Local Councils Initiative Brings the EU to Austrian Innsbruck

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: June 25, 2023; 23:55 ♦ (Vindobona)

More than 100 European local councilors take part in the initiative's annual conference as part of the 69th Austrian Municipal Day in Innsbruck. The event, which is integrated into the Austrian Municipal Day for the first time, emphasizes the close connection between the European and municipal levels.

The Minister for Europe, Karoline Edtstadler, emphasizes that the European Local Councils make the European Union tangible, perceptible and visible on the ground. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Florian Schrötter

Minister for Europe Edtstadler emphasizes the importance of the municipalities as an indispensable lifeline for coexistence in Austria and the EU. She explains that mayors, and municipal councilors in the municipalities are best informed about the concerns, issues, and wishes of the people. Decisions at the European level, therefore, require continuous feedback from the local and regional levels, as issues such as energy security, migration, climate change, and digitalization primarily affect local citizens.

The initiative of the European Local Councils aims to make the EU tangible directly on the ground. As a platform for exchange, networking, training, and support, they take on important tasks such as applying for EU funding. The Minister of Europe appreciates their commitment and emphasizes that they actively live the European idea through their concrete projects and personal conversations. President of the Association of Municipalities Alfred Riedl explains that it is increasingly the task of mayors and European municipal councils to better explain the EU and European issues to the people in the municipalities, as information and trust in the EU are increasingly decreasing in the municipalities.

During the conference, four European Local Councilors will present exemplary projects that successfully use EU funding. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Secretary General for Foreign Affairs at the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, will provide insights into European affairs. Members of the European Parliament emphasize the importance of communicating EU issues to citizens. Richard Kühnel, Director for Representation and Communication of the European Commission in the EU Member States, gives a review and outlook on the initiative of the European Local Councils. Austria serves as a role model here, as the initiative is also being implemented in other EU Member States.

The initiative of the European Local Councils has existed since 2010 and now has over 1,600 members in all nine federal states. They build a communicative bridge between the concerns of people at the local and regional levels and the European institutions. The Federal Chancellery supports the initiative through various services and offers such as information materials, direct exchange with the Minister for Europe, study trips to Brussels, and a specific web platform. Partners of the initiative are the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Austrian Association of Municipalities.

Federal Chancellory of Austria