25 years of EU funding in the City of Vienna

In April 1996, a department for EU funding was set up that now forms part of Municipal Department 27 - European Affairs.

In 1995, when Austria joined the EU, the City of Vienna already started looking into how it could access EU funds for certain municipal projects in future. Therefore, a dedicated department was established in the Chief Executive Office in 1996. This phase was characterised by an absolutely pioneering spirit as there were no experiences in the use of grants obtained from the EU Structural Funds. However, with great commitment, farsightedness and thirst for knowledge, the first projects - such as the Gürtel arches and the Repair and Service Centre - were implemented very soon.

Vienna's good reputation in Brussels

After an initial learning curve, the City of Vienna has acquired the reputation of a reliable partner for EU co-funding also in Brussels over the years. As a result, the European Commission and the member states gradually entrusted more and more far-reaching functions to Vienna with regard to the management of EU funds and their commitment to projects over time.

In the EU's programming period 2014 – 2020, the City of Vienna managed approximately 314 million euro from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). With 248 million euro, projects under the EU's CENTRAL Europe programme accounted for the biggest share of these funds. In addition, 39 million euro were and are available for Vienna's co-operation projects with the border regions of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia as well as 28 million euro for the further upgrading of Vienna's streetscape and economy.

Moreover, Vienna has hosted one of the four Interact offices in the EU since 2002. The Interact Office Vienna supports 28 cross-border EU programmes in Central and South-East Europe by ensuring the exchange of know-how and mutual learning in programme administration.

EU projects in Vienna

"EU funding has meanwhile become a standard element of thinking and actions in the City of Vienna. These funds not only ease pressure on the budget but also make the benefits of the European Union visible. Numerous EU projects contribute to Vienna's quality of life and attractiveness and enhance relations in Europe. Since 2007 alone, around 260 EU projects have been implemented. They relate to almost all spheres of urban life," says Peter Hanke, Executive City Councillor of Finance, Business, Labour, International Affairs and Vienna Public Utilities.

Improved attractiveness of the urban area through EU funds

Nowadays many EU projects already shape the cityscape not just along Gürtel street but throughout Vienna. The redesign of streets, such as Neulerchenfelderstrasse and Ottakringer Strasse, and squares, such as Johann-Nepomuk-Berger-Platz, Yppenplatz, Wallensteinplatz and Ilgplatz, are just a few select examples.

Actions taken at markets, such as Hannovermarkt, Kutschkermarkt and Vorgartenmarkt, resulted in the revitalisation of services of proximity in their neighbourhood. Most recently, measures were launched to improve the attractiveness of the market at, and the area around, Johann-Nepomuk-Vogl-Platz.

Moreover, parks, such as Anton-Baumann-Park, Rudolf-Bednar-Park, Robert-Hochner-Park, Karl-Hodina-Park and Joseph-Strauß-Park have been redesigned and upgraded and contribute to raising the quality of life of local residents in the districts.

An additional boost given to the economy by EU funds

EU funding also contributes to further stimulating Vienna's economy. The following projects have been implemented by the Vienna Business Agency:

  • Start-up Module: The Viennese start-up community is supported by workshops and coaching to increase the competitiveness of enterprises.
  • Start-up and Grow: The Start-up Module has been adapted and further developed with a focus on digitisation.

EU projects together with neighbouring regions

Many projects with a lasting impact, such as the wien-lobAU National Park House and the European Middle School, have been implemented in co-operation with the neighbouring regions of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. A few examples of ongoing projects are:

  • Hydraulic engineering laboratory - the biggest EU project ever implemented in Vienna. At the heart of the project is the construction of a hydraulic engineering laboratory of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna on the Brigittenauer Sporn. The laboratory will allow for studying the flow behaviour of the Danube under real-life conditions and permit researchers to gain important insights into the ecology and utilization of the Danube as a waterway. Being an innovative research centre, the laboratory creates up to 100 research workplaces for international research co-operation projects in Vienna.
  • TWIN CITY RAIL: EU funding jump-started the electrification and conversion to dual track of the railway line between Vienna and Bratislava via Marchegg. Thus, an attractive and climate-friendly rail connection between the two EU capitals will - at long last - be available to the residents of the two cities and the entire region as well as to all the commuters of the two countries.
  • BIG: Multilingual education is to be integrated into the regular curriculum of kindergartens and primary schools.
  • Design and innovation: Design strategy for Bratislava and Vienna
  • Safebridge: Development of integrated assessment methods for bridges

EU projects for all

Several EU projects offer interesting information or opportunities to participate for all Viennese citizens:

For those who want to do their bit for the environment:

EU projects also in future

Martin Pospischill who heads the Municipal Department for European Affairs affirms: "In the new EU programming period (2021 – 2027), we will again implement many important and useful projects. The first ideas for projects are promising and will ensure that Vienna makes a strong contribution to coping with the climate crisis."

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Chief Executive Office - European and International Affairs
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