Vienna Economic Council - How Vienna Deals With Current Economic Challenges

PeopleEntrepreneurs ♦ Published: July 7, 2022; 11:56 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Vienna Economic Council met this week to deal with the effects of the conflict in Ukraine. The aim was to make Vienna attractive as a business location and to manage emerging economic crises in the best possible way. Read on if you want to learn more!

Despite all the challenges, Vienna is considered a top business location. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons, Dimitry Anikin, CC0

The global economy is currently facing more challenges than it has for a long time. The Ukraine war and its direct but also its indirect consequences are also having a severe impact on Vienna's economy. In order to deal with these new issues such as energy supply, inflation or food supply, Vienna's city councillor for economic affairs, Peter Hanke, set up the Vienna Economic Council.

Starting with the perennial COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting fragile economy, the impact of the war in Ukraine with all its human tragedies and economic dislocations is hitting Vienna's economy doubly hard and presenting it with new developments.

The rise in gas prices and high inflation mean further challenges. Even though Vienna remains a top business location, it is important to plan ahead for the future. The city has above-average productivity, a high economic output, the most international settlements in Austria and is a front-runner in research and development.

To ensure that this remains the case in the future, Peter Hanke, City Councillor for Finance and Economic Affairs, established the Vienna Economic Council (VEC) in 2019 as a body of experts to jointly develop an economic and innovation strategy for Vienna until 2030.

Since then, the council has been meeting regularly and creating framework conditions so that Vienna can continue to flourish as a business location.

Political solutions through scientific findings

"Vienna arms itself against potential crises by developing and implementing solution strategies with the help of scientific expertise. In this way, we face the given challenges quickly and efficiently as well as in a professionally sound manner. In Vienna, we attach great importance to excellent cooperation between the social partnership institutions. This includes the regular weighing of all factors for jointly supported solutions," says Hanke.

On the occasion of the Ukraine crisis, inflation and questions regarding the long-term security of energy supply in Vienna, economic experts were again invited under the chairmanship of City Councillor Peter Hanke on 5 July 2022 to give political representatives an informed overview of the current situation.

Gabriel Felbermayer (Austrian Institute of Economic Research) spoke about the currently particularly high inflation and the simultaneously high economic growth in 2022.

Peter Weinelt (Wiener Stadtwerke) presented measures to secure the energy supply in Vienna, including further investments in renewable energies for a long-term and sustainable supply of the city.

Mario Holzner (Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies) shed light on the prerequisites of refugee Ukrainians for the Viennese labour market and emphasised the comparatively high level of education of the refugees from Ukraine. Holzner also predicted that there were currently no major problems to be feared with integration into the Viennese labour market.

Markus Marterbauer (Chamber of Labour) spoke about the challenges of the decline in real wages for the lowest income third of the Viennese population and argued for an increase in minimum wages and social benefits.

In view of the current economic situation, Councillor Hanke emphasised: "The issue of distribution can no longer be postponed. A special feature of the Vienna Economic Council is the clear exchange between all participants. Here, an open approach is cultivated, different proposals for solutions are freely discussed. The decisions of city policy are thus prepared in a sustainable way."

Vienna City Government - Magistrat der Stadt Wien