Governor Kaiser, why is Carinthia a progressive region?
Carinthia is a pioneer region in the field of digitisation. We have a strong base for research and innovation, with robust future-oriented companies that are able to keep up with the challenges of international research and of the race to innovation. Technological progress creates opportunities for the development of a region the same way as large investments create jobs. As a sustainable technology industry, it is important to address the challenge of integrating digital skills into education. By promoting digital skills, we need to ensure that the human being is always the key factor. Sustainable economic development can address demographic challenges and prevent depopulation.
How does Carinthia contribute to the implementation of SDGs on the ground?
The energy challenges of the future need to be tackled with joint forces. Smart technologies can help increase energy efficiency and thus tackle climate change. The ECSEL ‘UltimateGaN’ project demonstrates this well: under the leadership of Infineon Austria in Villach (Carinthia), 26 companies from nine different countries are developing an energy-saving chip. The aim is to provide power semiconductors at a global competitive cost for a wide range of applications. The project therefore makes an important contribution to improving energy efficiency and CO2 reduction.
How did European funding help Carinthia in doing so?
For Carinthia as a technological location, investment in research and development is essential. As a cultural and linguistic hub, its geographical position makes it ideal for cross-border cooperation like the INTERREG programmes with Italy and Slovenia. However, in order to maintain and further develop this longstanding cross-border cooperation and its investment in research and innovation, EU regional funding is essential. It is therefore of paramount importance to ensure the EU’s regional policy as a strong investment policy for Carinthia, also in the next programming period as of 2021.
Peter Kaiser is the Governor of Carinthia since 2013 and a member of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions since 2018. He belongs to the Austrian Social Democratic Party.
Photo credit landscape: flickr / Connor Mallon, photo credit UltimateGaN project: Infineon Technologies Austria