Vienna Liaison Office in Brussels (Vienna House)

Contact (German)

Activity range

Since its inauguration, the Vienna House has been basically acting as an extension, as it were, of Vienna's European policy by serving as place of discussion, networking and encounter. Thus the original objective of this institution on the one hand always embodied the provision of assistance to EU institutions and networks of which the City of Vienna is a member; this primary purpose was moreover complemented by an event roster that highlights Vienna’s interests vis-à-vis the EU, presents departments and enterprises from Vienna or showcases Viennese culture in Brussels.

On the other hand, the Vienna House also serves as a place of information and education for numerous groups of visitors from Austria aiming to learn about the structure and functioning of the EU. Finally, the Vienna House offers EU project groups a venue for exchanging ideas; various networks, too, hold meetings here. For this reason, a building of suitable spatial dimensions was purchased in 1995 following a relevant resolution of the Vienna City Council.

The EU Liaison Office of the City of Vienna in Brussels is charged with asserting Vienna's interests vis-à-vis the European institutions as well as with covering and communicating politically relevant developments at the European level on behalf of political and municipal decision-makers in Vienna.

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 bodies
  • Assistance to groups of (expert) visitors
  • Maintenance of network connections
  • 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, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, EUROCITIES, et cetera.

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. In 2016, the event series "Growing Cities - Growth in Cities" was initiated following a constructive discussion on long-term public investments to reflect the political mission. Regarding cultural events, which however only make up a small part of the activities, the Vienna House has for several years been pursuing a mainly co-operative approach. 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:

  • Services of general interest, safeguarding of these services in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity
  • Social housing in Europe
  • Urban policy at the European level, including the Smart Cities initiative
  • European Semester and funding conditions for cities and regions

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 constantly maintaining local contacts in Brussels, the Vienna House can thus obtain information of relevance for Vienna at an early date and introduce Vienna's positions in opinion-forming and decision-making processes at the earliest moment.

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
  • 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

Successful examples

The Liaison Office thus enjoys recognition as:

  • A representative of a strong, self-determined public service sector ("services of general interest")
  • A competent champion of social housing in Europe
  • An advocate of stronger integration of cities into the EU legislative process
  • A supporter of the ongoing discussion on how to improve the funding conditions for cities in Europe (with regard to urban infrastructure)
  • A constant and competent contact point regarding questions of social balance in 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)
  • Professional representation of municipal interests at the EU level (consulting and providing assistance to departments and organisational units)
Contact for this page:
Eva Gsteu-Kirschbaum (European Affairs)
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