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Region of the week: Vorarlberg (Austria)



Visit by Commissioner Hahn

Commissioner Hahn will be visiting Vorarlberg, Austria's westernmost region, on 24-25 March 2011. 

His programme includes meetings with elected representatives and the social partners, as well as visits to two EU-funded projects in the region (see details below).

What are the region's priorities?

Vorarlberg shares borders with neighbouring Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.  It is a popular destination for tourists, thanks to its picturesque mountains and lakes.  With a population of just over 370,000, it is one of Austria's most economically dynamic and prosperous regions.  GDP per capita is 34% above the EU average.    

Despite its favourable location and strong economic record, the region faces a number of challenges in order to maintain its competitive edge and quality of life.  These include:

  • Ensuring the productive application of research and development
  • Preserving the quality of the environment
  • Reducing the gap between urban and rural areas of the region


How is EU regional policy helping?

The European Union will be investing some €17.7 million in Vorarlberg during the 2007-2013 programming period.  This EU funding is expected to leverage a total investment in the region of €110 million, thanks to the national public contribution and additional funding from private sources.

The priorities for EU funding set out in Vorarlberg’s regional competitiveness programme include:

  • Improving innovation and promoting a knowledge-based economy
  • Increasing quality and technological standards in key economic sectors
  • Support for the tourism sector
  • Protection against natural risks
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency


Vorarlberg is also actively involved in the Bodensee Cross-border programme with Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Project examples

Commissioner Hahn will be visiting two EU-funded projects during his stay in Vorarlberg:

  • High Q Laser, a leading international supplier of lasers for scientific, medical and industrial markets.  This family-owned company has an impressive track record in research and development, with over 60 scientific publications and 70 patents to its name. The European Regional Development Fund is contributing €121,000 towards the construction of new premises for the company.
  • Inatura, a natural history museum in Dornbirn.  Inatura became Austria's first fully-fledged 'Science Centre' in 2009 with the addition of new interactive displays that aim to improve visitors' understanding of physical, technical and mechanical phenomena in a fun and entertaining way.  The European Regional Development Fund contributed €105,000 towards the cost of adding these new features.


Further information