Commission launches the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region
This macro-regional strategy concerns seven countries; five Member States - Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia - and two non-EU countries - Liechtenstein and Switzerland - overall involving 48 regions.
Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: "Alpine regions have a long lasting tradition of cooperation, with a number of networks already in place, and the ambition of this Strategy is to strengthen this existing solidarity. It is the fourth macro-regional strategy in Europe; experience shows that their success highly depends on commitment and ownership. We therefore need strong political leadership and active involvement of all regional and national partners to fully exploit the potential of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region.”
The Strategy will focus on four key policy areas and could support the development of the following indicative projects:
- Economic growth and innovation with, for example, the development of research activities on Alpine-specific products and services.
- Connectivity and mobility, with the improvement ofroads and railways and the extension of satellite access in remote areas.
- Environment and energy, with the pooling of mutual resources to preserve the environment and promote energy efficiency in the Region.
In addition, the Commission identified the need to build a sound and efficient governance model for the Region.
The Commission hopes to see the Strategy endorsed by the European Council later this year.
A 'Macro-regional strategy' is an integrated framework which can be supported by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), among others, to address common challenges faced by Member States and third countries located in the same geographical area. They thereby benefit from strengthened cooperation contributing to achievement of economic, social and territorial cohesion.
The European Council of 19-20 December 2013 had invited the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to elaborate an EU Strategy for the Alpine Region by mid-2015.
The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region was launched today in the form of a Communication and an Action Plan. They take into account the results of the extensive online public consultation conducted between July and October 2014 as well as the conclusions of the closing high-level Stakeholder Conference in Milan on 1-2 December 2014.