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The Vienna-Bratislava Interregional Initiative for Employment is a cross-border cooperation project to support the development of more flexible labour markets to reflect the new situation in the cross-border metropolitan region since the creation of the Schengen zone. It addresses the challenges resulting from the transformation towards a knowledge-based economy in the unique and dynamic bipolar metropolitan region around the twin cities of Vienna and Bratislava as representatives of dynamic “old” and transitional “new” EU capital cities.

Executive summary

The Vienna-Bratislava Interregional Initiative for Employment (ÜBI-NIZ) is a multi-stakeholder project that is developing innovative approaches to project management. These are based on the concentration of executive tasks and a broad involvement of the participating institutions, enterprises and persons in the project activities as well as creative outputs in the form of innovative instruments for joint labour market development. The core element of its success was the creation of a hierarchical three-level system. ÜBI-NIZ is a model project showing how to build cooperation structures across different levels of governmental, and involve the whole range of stakeholders in the project activities, without lowering the project management efficiency or performance. Project participants are layered into:

  • Core project partners – who coordinate executive tasks
  • Project participants – who carry out project activities
  • Strategic partners – who represent core stakeholder groups

This seems to be the appropriate approach to steer project implementation when horizontally as well as vertically differentiated subjects are taking part. This three-layer system was based on the Strategic Management Group, which involved representatives of the main stakeholders in labour market policy. They supplied valuable experience and knowledge which the project revalorised, and at the same time used as the core element in the transfer of project outputs into labour market practice, so ensuring that the project’s effects were sustained.

The second factor increasing the efficiency of the exploitation of the project results was synergy with the other projects under way in the same area, which allowed efforts to be deployed in a complementary way.

The third success factor was the concept behind the project, which was to create systemic solutions to the problems of unbalanced labour markets, by developing a system of interlinked and synergetic instruments. The challenge was to respond to changes in labour demand caused by rapid economic growth, the convergence of conditions on either side of the border, and the integration processes that are under way in the metropolitan region which is a multicultural and multilingual environment that is attractive to international investors.

One of the main challenges for the project was to build a communication platform which would activate a broad range of stakeholders. The project needed to facilitate high-quality cross-border communication among stakeholders, including the responsible official bodies, and also to guarantee its continuity despite any political changes following elections. The project had the idea of overcoming this problem by developing parallel networks of professionals and independent persons from both private and public spheres (advisers, mediators, entrepreneurs, NGOs) active in the field of labour market development.

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Technical information


Hands across the Danube – making a cross-border jobs market work

Member State and Region

Austria, Wien (city and region)

Slovakia, Bratislava (self-governmental region), Trnava self-governmental region

Duration of project

39 months (04.2008 – 06.2011)


Total budget planned: 1 500 000 € and revised: 1 300 000 €

ERDF contribution planned: 1 275 000 € ; revised: 1 105 000 €

Cohesion Policy Objective


Managing Authority

City of Vienna - Department for EU Strategy and Economic Development - Wien

CCI nr of OP

2007CB163PO003, OP 'Creating the future. Programme for cross-border co-operation Austria-Slovakia 2007-2013'


Ms Kvetoslava Blahova (SK),

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Ms Marlies Steinwender (A),

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Regional Cooperation, partnership