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Towards an EU Strategy for the Alpine Region



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Starting the steady upward climb: Alpine partners meet in Milan to prepare new EU macro-regional strategy

Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu joins Ministers and Regional Presidents in Milan today at a high-level stakeholder conference on the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP). The event, jointly organised by the Italian Presidency of the Council, the Lombardy Region and the Commission, gathers together some 1,000 participants form the seven participating countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland) in this latest EU macro-regional strategy.

Discussions will focus on the findings of an extensive on-line consultation with civil society and stakeholders across this mountainous region and its surrounds, which are home to 70 million people. The views expressed will also feed into a formal proposal and Action Plan to be brought forward by Commissioner Creţu in mid-2015, which will frame the activities of the fledgling Strategy.

The three main issues which the EUSALP will address are: (1) Competitiveness and Innovation, (2) Connecting the Region and (3) Sustainable Management of energy, natural and cultural resources. Through this, the Strategy will contribute to creating prosperity and jobs for the region's population.

Speaking ahead of the conference in Milan, Commissioner Corina Creţu commented: "The partner countries in this new Alpine Strategy are highly developed with competitive, market-oriented and specialised economies. Their citizens enjoy a high quality of life, as well as social and political stability. The EUSALP must capitalise on the efficiency and experience of these regions – both EU and non-member country alike, to ensure that no locality, region or resident is left behind in this renewed drive for prosperity."

She added: "The Alps are one of the most famous and intensely-used mountain regions in the world. Their natural beauty and cultural assets must be enjoyed and preserved with care - and above all, with respect for the lives of the region's citizens. As a major crossroads of Europe's transport links, the Alpine region has become an environmental challenge. We need the political commitment of national and regional partners to work together, across borders, in order to ensure that policies are consistently designed to counter this congestion."

The European Council of 19-20 December 2013 invited the Commission, in co-operation with the Member States, to elaborate an EU Strategy for the Alpine region, with a deadline for presenting a proposal set as mid-2015. The new Strategy should build on the positive experiences of the Danube and Baltic Sea regions.

Further information

Stakeholder Conference on the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (Milan, 1-2 December 2014)

A Stakeholder Conference on the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region will take place in Milan (Lombardy, Italy) on 1-2 December 2014, jointly organised by the Italian Presidency of the Council, the Lombardy Region and the European Commission.

The Conference marks the conclusion of an extensive on-line consultation with stakeholders held from 15 July until 15 October 2014.  The debate and discussions in the Conference are aimed at supporting the preparation of the future Communication and Action Plan of the Strategy, which the Commission is due to present in June 2015.

The programme includes plenary sessions and workshops devoted to the three pillars of the Strategy: 1) Driving innovative growth; 2) Connecting the Region; and 3) Protecting the environment and promoting a sustainable management of energy and natural and cultural resources.

The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region will involve 7 countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland. It will build on the experiences of the already existing macro-regional strategies: the European Strategy for the Danube Region and the European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

Scheduled speakers at the event include Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, the Foreign Ministers of the Countries involved and the Presidents of the Regions of the Alpine area. 

  • Take a look at the programme.
  • The prolonged deadline for registrations is 25 November 2014.
  • More information:

http://www.alpine-region.eu/index.html

EU Strategy for the Alpine Region

Commission launches discussion on governance of Macro-Regional Strategies

The European Commission has today published a report on the governance of the EU's Macro-Regional Strategies. The cooperation method of these Strategies has gained impetus and support across Europe since the first for the Baltic Sea Region was adopted in 2009. Common challenges are tackled by a number of countries - both EU and non EU members- working together, streamlining their resources to ensure an effective and joined -up response.

But today's report shows that while the results of individual projects and initiatives in the Baltic Sea and Danube regions are positive – even more  political leadership and clearer decision-making is needed to build on the progress so far.

The report recommends changes to improve the impact, results and the sustainability of existing, and particularly future strategies – such as that of the Adriatic-Ionian and Alpine Regions which European Countries have asked for and should be adopted formally later this. This concerns primarily national and regional administrations, but also a wider range of stakeholders, and the European Commission itself.

Next month Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will attend the Forum on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (3-4 June in Turku) and Forum on the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (26-27. June in Vienna). Also a Communication and Action Plan for the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) will be adopted by the Commission in June 2014.

More information

Previous News

The European Council of 19-20 December 2013 invited the Commission, in co-operation with the Member States, to elaborate an EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) by mid-2015. From 16 July to 15 October 2014 an on-line public consultation was held. Close to 400 contributions from citizens, organisations and public authorities were received. This consultation, together with the debates and discussions in the Stakeholder Conference on the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (Milano, 1-2 December 2014) are aimed at supporting the preparation of the future Communication and Action Plan of the Strategy, which the Commission is due to present in June 2015.

The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region will involve 7 countries:  Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland. It will build on the experiences of the already existing macro-regional strategies: the European Strategy for the Danube Region and the European  Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

What’s the issue?

The Alpine region is one of the largest economic and productive regions in Europe where 70 million people live and work, as well as it is an attractive tourist destination for millions of guests every year. However, it faces several major challenges:

  • Economic globalisation requiring the territory to distinguish itself as competitive and innovative
  • Demographic trends characterised by ageing and new migration models
  • Climate change and its foreseeable effects on the environment, biodiversity and living conditions of the inhabitants
  • Energy challenge at the European and worldwide scales
  • Its specific geographical position in Europe as a transit region but also as an area with unique geographical and natural features

Better cooperation between the regions and States is needed to tackle those challenges.

Who will benefit and how?

The main added value of the Strategy for the Alpine Region will consist in a new relationship between metropolitan, peri-mountain, and mountain areas.

According to the political resolution adopted by the representatives of the 7 Alpine States and 15 Alpine Regions in Grenoble in October 2013, the new strategy will focus on the following 3 thematic priorities

  • Competitiveness and Innovation
  • Environmentally friendly mobility
  • Sustainable management of energy, natural and cultural resources

The debate comes at a crucial stage of the negotiations for the future programmes 2014-2020. Member States and regions should ensure that the Alpine Strategy is properly embedded in the future generation of programmes under EU regional policy 2014-2020, as well as other relevant EU, regional and national policy frameworks.

Foreseen Timetable

Consultation Process

July 2014: On-line public general consultation

September 2014 : Per pillar consultation

1-2 December 2014: Stakeholder Conference on the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region

Action Plan

January 2015

Impact assessment

January 2015

Communication

March 2015

Adoption by the Commission

June 2015

Adoption by the Council

Autumn 2015 (provisional)               

Kick-off conference adopting the Strategy

Autumn 2015

 

Implementation

As for the implementation, the Strategy will be based on the key principles applied for the existing macro-regional strategies: no new EU funds, no additional EU formal structures and no EU legislation, while relying on a coordinated approach, synergy effects and a more effective use of existing EU funds and other financial instruments. The aim is to produce a clear added value based on jointly identified objectives.

Contacts

To get in contact with the team in DG REGIO please send an e-mail to REGIO D1 TRANSNATIONAL AND INTERREGIONAL COOPERATION

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