Vienna Liaison Office in Brussels (Vienna House)

Contact (German)

Activity range

Since its establishment in 1995/1996, the Vienna Liaison Office in Brussels has been basically serving as the administrative "feeler" of the City Administration in relation to the EU institutions. The objective lies in asserting Vienna's interests vis-à-vis the European institutions and in covering and communicating politically relevant developments at the European level for the benefit of political and municipal decision-makers in the Austrian capital.

Hence, the range of activities comprises the provision of assistance to EU institutions and networks of which the City of Vienna is a member as well as active lobbying vis-à-vis the European Parliament and the European Commission, the creation of possibilities for departments and enterprises from Vienna to present their work and, finally, proactive networking aimed at the speedy provision of information and the canvassing and identification of reliable allies. This is further complemented by an event roster that showcases Viennese culture in Brussels.

Moreover, the Vienna House serves as a place of information and training for numerous groups of visitors from Austria seeking to learn about the structure and functioning of the EU and also acts as a venue that enables EU project groups to exchange ideas.

The tasks of the Vienna House comprise:

  • Monitoring and analysis of EU-related developments of relevance for Vienna
  • Assertion of Vienna's positions in EU decision-making processes
  • Co-ordination of Vienna’s membership in the Committee of the Regions as well as in the city network EUROCITIES
  • Organisation of expert talks and lobbying meetings with European institutions
  • Serving as an intermediary with relevant contact persons at European institutions and associations
  • Assistance to groups of (expert) visitors
  • Maintenance of network connections, in particular those concerned with women's issues
  • PR work and presentation activities in Brussels and Vienna
  • Management of the information flow from Vienna to Brussels
  • Management of the information flow from Brussels to Vienna
  • Research work and analyses
  • Acting as an ambassador of Viennese culture and quality of life

Moreover, the staff members of the Liaison Office provide assistance to other bodies and networks of relevance for the City of Vienna, such as the informal network of offices of capital cities and capital city regions in Brussels or the Council of European Municipalities and Regions.

In addition to special-interest functions addressing issues of topical importance for the EU and/or Vienna as well as regular cultural events held at the Vienna House, many EU projects and networks involving Vienna in some form likewise make use of the premises for work meetings, presentations and discussions. Every year, many groups of visitors - mostly from Vienna - are welcomed; in addition, the Liaison Office maintains bilateral contacts in Belgium and Brussels.

In all, the Vienna House accommodates the following four organisational units:

  • Liaison Office of the City of Vienna
  • Liaison Office of Burgenland
  • Brussels office of the Vienna Business Agency
  • Brussels office of Vienna Public Utilities

Therefore events at the Vienna House are organised by all four organisational units either on their own or in co-operation. The overall co-ordination work is a task of the Director of the Liaison Office of the City of Vienna.

Thematic orientation

All EU documents of relevance for Vienna, with a special focus on:

  • cohesion policy and the Multiannual Financial Framework
  • the European Green Deal and the European Pillar of Social Rights
  • urban policy at the European level: Urban Agenda for the European Union
  • services of general interest, safeguarding of these services in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity
  • social and affordable housing in Europe
  • European Semester and funding conditions for cities and regions
  • Conference on the Future of Europe

Background

The effective representation of Vienna's interests calls for good contacts with all EU institutions on the one hand and in-depth knowledge of Vienna's municipal administration on the other hand. By maintaining ongoing on-site contacts with its co-operation partners in Brussels, the Vienna House obtains information of relevance for Vienna at an early date and thus can introduce Vienna’s positions into opinion-forming and decision-making processes as soon as this is possible. An equally important aspect of this process concerns learning about comparable situations in other cities and integrating these findings into the City of Vienna's body of knowledge.

Objectives

  • Positioning and presentation of Vienna at the European level
  • Providing services for departments and other organisational units of the City of Vienna
  • PR work and dissemination of information to represent municipal interests
  • Forging alliances with relevant actors in the field of services of general interest

Target groups

Brussels

  • EU institutions: EP, Council, EC
  • Committee of the Regions, Economic and Social Committee
  • EUROCITIES, Council of European Municipalities and Regions, other associations of cities and regions
  • Permanent Representation of Austria to the EU and other Austrian institutions in Belgium
  • Organisations of social partners and other Austrian institutions in Belgium
  • Offices of cities and regions
  • Associations of the public sector and the social economy
  • Various special-interest associations, working groups and networks
  • Austrian Embassy in Belgium and Mission of Austria to NATO
  • Austrian Cultural Forum in Brussels
  • Public authorities, cultural institutions, universities and media in Belgium

Vienna

  • Departments and organisational units of the City of Vienna
  • Enterprises of the City of Vienna
  • Schools, youth facilities, universities and universities of applied sciences
  • Viennese companies and business associations
  • Organisations and associations that co-operate closely with the Vienna City Administration
  • Media

Successful examples

Accordingly, the Liaison Office enjoys recognition as:

  • a supporter of the ongoing discussion on how to improve funding and investment conditions for cities in Europe (in the context of the European Semester)
  • representative of a strong and self-determined public sector (services of general interest)
  • competent champion of social and affordable housing in Europe
  • an advocate of stronger integration of cities into the EU legislative process
  • constant and competent contact point regarding questions of socially, ecologically and economically sustainable urban development
  • one of the few regional offices active in Brussels that pursue a strong women's policy focus

Importance for Vienna

  • Positioning of Vienna's interests vis-à-vis the European institutions (early warning system, information management, strategy development)
  • Professional representation of municipal interests at the EU level (consulting and providing assistance to departments and organisational units)
Contact for this page:
City of Vienna | European Affairs (Eva Gsteu-Kirschbaum)
Contact form