Microsoft word - 1.christian ragger.doc

As social affairs spokesman for Carinthia, I am delighted to be able to take part today in this important meeting in Brussels, and as Vice President of ELISAN it is a special Our social services are currently having to deal with entirely new problems. The rapid pace of change in our social and economic structures in particular, a large number of social risks, and above all demographic developments mean that we have to strike out on new paths in social policy. Our task in the context of social policy is to improve people’s living conditions wherever it is necessary to do so. In this connection it is vital to promote further exchange of experience between the regions, since social problems in a united Europe can no longer be viewed solely at the level of the individual state – regions in different geographical locations are now faced with the same or very similar problems, which they are trying to resolve in different ways. Herein lies the great benefit of an entity which is nevertheless made up of different parts: we must make use of these synergy effects, not only in order to reach joint solutions, but also to learn from our partners. In order to implement this development on a permanent basis, we must in the future also anchor the social component ever more firmly in EU legislation. One important topic in many regions of Europe relates to energy poverty. Energy poverty is used as a term to describe the shortage of energy resources for generating electricity, heat, cold, etc. In particular, energy poverty designates the lack of access or restricted access to these resources. Even in industrial countries energy is very expensive, and even unaffordable for some strata of the population. As a provisional guide, we can use a definition of energy poverty which is common in the UK, where a household is considered to be “energy poor” if it has to spend more than ten per cent of its income to purchase energy in order to ensure a temperature of 21 degrees Celsius in the main living room and 18 degrees Celsius in the other rooms. In many households it is regarded as only right and proper that energy should be used responsibly. The choice of the cheapest and most environmentally friendly tariff is almost a matter of course. But thousands of households are battling with very different problems: they cannot pay their bills, and they are being cut off by their suppliers. Energy poverty used to be a marginal phenomenon, but it has now become an everyday concern for many people – 10 to 15% of households struggle to In this context, the fight against energy poverty is one of the most important tasks of any social policy maker. Even in times of economic difficulty, the Carinthian government and the municipal authorities provide around 3.5 million Euros in This year also, my reaction to the sharp increases in energy costs has been very prompt, and I have increased the heating costs subsidy by 30 Euros, to 180 Euros for those on the lowest incomes and 110 Euros for those in the “lower middle class” The data provided by Statistik Austria show that here in Carinthia we are achieving by far the broadest impact with our heating costs subsidy. Every 25th person in Carinthia (almost 22,000 persons) receives the subsidy. By way of comparison, in Tyrol only every 50th person (in Salzburg every 180th, in Vienna only every 290th person) gets a subsidy. As far as the amount is concerned, Carinthia is in 3rd place in Austria, behind Tyrol and Vorarlberg. This shows not only that Carinthia is very serious about preventing energy poverty, but also that we are using the right means One further initiative of the Carinthian government in the fight against energy poverty is the “firewood campaign” which I initiated. The federal province of Carinthia is characterised by a rural structure in which the western region is dominated by the Alps, resulting in poorer traffic infrastructure. The wood processing industry and wood processing operations continue to be very important for Carinthia, and as a result wood is also a very important fuel in individual households. People with very low incomes are finding it harder and harder to afford fuel to heat their homes. Where the fuel in question is wood, there is the additional difficulty that firewood first of all has to be processed into logs and then delivered. These obstacles have found an innovative solution with the “firewood campaign”: In order to keep the threshold for participation in the campaign as low as possible, a cooperation has been set up between two established NPOs, the “SOMA – Sozialmärkte” social markets organisation and “pro mente Kärnten Arbeitsprojekte”, a “social corporation” for people with psychological and psychosocial handicaps. In the SOMA markets, people with very low incomes can buy basic foodstuffs very cheaply – this is a service which has become established over many years and is very well known. In addition, during the winter months firewood vouchers are being offered at 25% less than the market price. These vouchers can then be redeemed at During the summer months pro mente processes native wood from local producers and wood which becomes available during clearance operations following storm damage. This provides a regular employment situation for people with psychological and psychosocial problems. Around 10 jobs a year are created. As an additional service, the wood is delivered free and assistance is provided with stacking it for In 2011 these efforts on the part of the Carinthian government to help affected persons effectively and with a minimum of bureaucracy were awarded the special Prix de Coeur prize donated by GDF/Suez. We see this award as an incentive to continue our efforts to combat energy poverty, and we would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks for the extraordinary level of commitment With this in mind, I would also like to pay special tribute to the Alzheimer prize initiative which is being allocated today. As a result of these campaigns, a special value is attached to the efforts being made by the regions in the social sector, and ultimately the general public are becoming increasingly aware of what is being done.


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Microsoft word - 2007-03-14-02-2007.doc

G E M E I N D E E S C H E N PROTOKOLLAUSZUG SITZUNGSPROTOKOLL DES GEMEINDERATES 04/07 Datum / Zeit Mittwoch, 14. Februar 2007 / 18.00 – 20.30 Uhr Vorsitz : Gemeinderäte Bieberschulte Werner, Gerner Benno, Gerner Kurt, Gerner Michael, von Grünigen Stefanie, Hasler Gina, Kindle Albert, Meier Manfred, Oehry Entschuldigt Protokoll Traktanden 1. Bestellung

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