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REGION OF THE WEEK: STYRIA (AUSTRIA)

Styrie (Autriche)

11/04/2011

Visit by Commissioner Hahn
Commissioner Hahn will be in Styria in the south-east of Austria from 14 to 15 April. He’ll be visiting some urban development projects in Graz, made possible with support from European regional policy. He’ll also meet with City Mayor, Mr Siegfried Nagl, and Land President, Mr Franz Voves.


What are the region’s priorities?

Located on the border with Slovenia, Styria’s GDP per inhabitant is 7% above the Community average. The region has successfully managed to restructure its economy in the wake of a slump in the mining industry in the 1980s, which hit the region hard.
Styria is heavily involved in research and development, with many business clusters and start-ups operating there. The region (referred to as “the green heart of Austria”) also draws on tourism to develop its economy.


How is EU regional policy helping?

The regional programme, supported by the European Union over the 2007-13 period, represents an investment of 155 million euro from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Based on this figure, the programme is the largest in Austria. Its aim is to promote innovation and create jobs through two priorities:

  • Boosting innovation and the knowledge economy (especially in small and medium-sized enterprises).
  • Making the region more attractive (notably through projects related to tourism or urban development in Graz).

 

In terms of the amount of available European funds that have been used, the region is on a par with the Community average (approximately 30% of payments made so far to project promoters).

Styria is also involved in an EU-supported cross-border cooperation programme with Slovenia.

 
Project examples

The city of Graz was among the first European cities involved in the URBAN community programmes. Commissioner Hahn will see the results of several projects first-hand:

  • Helmut List Halle is a former factory reconverted into a classical music concert hall offering fine acoustics. The Commissioner will meet the project’s architect, Marcus Pernthaler, who designed the impressive photovoltaic panel façade. The project has breathed fresh air into what had become a neglected area.
  • Bad zur Sonne: the historic 19th century baths, abandoned for several years, have now been renovated and transformed. They include a pool covered over by a striking glass roof, and a sauna and sun terrace.
  • Oeverseepark: the park was created with EU support in the Gries district. It was designed by the local residents themselves.

 

Another project in the region also deserves a mention:

  • Technofit Pro brings together three universities and a research institute. Its role is to provide consultancy services to small and medium enterprises to help them succeed with their innovation projects.

 

Further information