Wien, 16. November 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Feeling of home from the community to the European level"

16.11.2007

Foreign Minister at ceremonial act of the Austrian Association of Municipalities

Vienna, 16 November 2007 - "The municipalities are the immediate home of the people and the place where the familiar aspects of their daily life are based. In the global village they are the smallest transparent unit and a reliable point of identification for citizens. And with their utilities such as water supply, refuse collection, social and medical services they offer essential facilities for each individual," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik at the ceremonial act marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Austrian Association of Municipalities.

"A core element of the EU is the interaction of large and smaller units. The 27-state Union is therefore reliant on contributions at the municipal level. Mayors are my favourite European politicians and municipalities the first point of contact in European questions. It is therefore in our common interest to include them actively in European affairs and give them the consideration that they deserve."

"The EU Reform Treaty of Lisbon also includes important innovations in this respect. The right of regions and municipalities to self-government is established in writing for the first time and the subsidiarity principle strengthened: European regulations will apply only where they are useful, transparent and bring specific added value. This more precise thinking can also be seen for example with communal services such as water supply or refuse collection. The EU Treaty clearly establishes the responsibility of the national, regional and local authorities in the Member States. The EU is not trying to regulate every aspect of economic life in Europe through the single market," said Plassnik.

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