Österreichischer Städtebund
(Association of Austrian Cities)
1082 Wien
Tel: +43 1 4000 89980
Email: post@stb.or.at

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Austrian association supports
cities in eastern Europe

25 August 2003: The Association of Austrian Cities (Österreichischer Städtebund) represents Austria’s larger cities, although any local authority is free to join. The Association has some 250 members among a total of 2,359 local authorities in Austria. However, more than 55 per cent of Austrians live in communities represented by the Association. Member communities include Vienna and all of Austria’s provincial capitals such as Innsbruck and Salzburg. In addition, virtually all towns and cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants are members of the Austrian Association. The smallest member has fewer than 1,000 inhabitants.

The Association goes back to 1887, when regular ‘Städtetage’ (General assemblies of Cities) were held to discuss issues of common interest, particularly financial concerns. In September 1915 the Österreichischer Städtebund was formally set up. Then, it also represented German-speaking towns in today’s Czech Republic and Slovenia.

The Association sees its main task as representing the interests of local government in discussions about the sharing of tax revenues between the federal and provincial governments and local communities. In 2000, the share of total public revenue received by local government in Austria amounted to 11.8 per cent. If Vienna, the state capital and a province in its own right, was excluded, the figure would read 6.1 per cent.

The Association of Austrian Cities opened an office in Brussels in 1994. It was the first European local government organisation to do so. The office, housed within Austria’s embassy to the EU, monitors and takes part in discussions affecting local authorities in Europe. The Association is also a member of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) and of the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA).

Since the fall of totalitarian communism in eastern Europe, the Association of Austrian Cities has made cooperation with countries such as Hungary and the Czech and Slovak Republics a top priority. During the past 13 years some 3,000 Mayors and other local government decision makers from former communist countries have visited Austria to study the work of local government within a democratic country. Funds provided by Austria’s federal government have also allowed some additional 15,000 local government experts from eastern Europe to take part in training programmes organised by the Know How Transfer Centre (KTC) which is run by the Association of Austrian Cities.

The Association’s day-to-day business is run by its Management Board which consists of 19 members. Traditionally, the Mayor of Vienna acts as President. The Secretary General, Erich Pramböck, together with a staff of 20, prepares and/or implements decisions by the Management Board.

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