REGISTER YOUR CITY, REGION OR NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pej?inovi? Buri?, has issued a toolkit for governments across Europe on respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law during the COVID-19 crisis.
COVID-19 Toolkit (available in several languages)
The COVID-19 crisis hit Austrian municipalities, cities and towns hard. Significant loss of revenue (e.g. shared and own taxes) led to a situation where investment projects had to be stopped or shifted, many municipalities only continued securing their core business without planning future investments. (future investments are likely to be postponed)
Facing the crisis the communities and the their services of general interest have proven to be the backbone of the state. As local investment projects are the best way to relaunch the regional economy, the Austrian Federal Government announced on May, 25 a local government investment package that should enter into force on July, 1st.
Main features of the local government investment law :
The federal government allocates 1 billion Euros for infrastructure investments in cities, towns and municipalities. Investments are co-financed equally by federal investment grants and local expenditure and should lead to investments worth 2 billion Euros. The local government part can be further co-financed by other sources (regional or European).
Investment grants will be applied to local projects from 1/6/2020-31/12/2021, projects must be finished by 31/01/2024. Ongoing projects (from 1/6/2019) that came to a halt due to financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 crisis may apply for an investment grant as well. This was one of the core demands of the Austrian Association of Municipalities, another one concerns the co-financing of maintenance of existing infrastructure. Both points clearly favour municipalities with lower investment capacities.
The list of possible investments comprises construction, renovation refurbishment and maintenance in the following areas (among others) :
There is a focus on green investments that contribute towards reaching the climate targets.
The allocation of grants follows the logic of the financial equalisation process. Unused funds will feed into other sources of finance dedicated to local governments.