An EU Strategy for the Alpine Region

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    The study ‘Macro-regional strategies and their links with cohesion policy’, contracted by Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy and conducted by a consortium led by COWI company, aims first at describing the main features of each macro-region (Baltic, Danube, Adriatic and Ionian, and Alpine) through a range of macroeconomic, competitiveness, integration and governance indicators. It assesses to what extent the strategies contribute to coordination and synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds and other EU policies and instruments. The study also takes stock of strategies' main achievements and appraises their socio-economic impact. It also identifies the barriers to overcome and the drivers to use in order to make them more efficient and finally looks at the potential of the macro-regional approach to contribute to the future cohesion policy. 

    This comprehensive study is based on the analysis of existing literature, desk research, interpretation of hundreds of data, and a survey sent to more than six thousands macro-regional stakeholders. The report is composed of five documents: one core report summarising the main findings of the study and one annex per strategy compiling data and findings concerning each of them. 

    The Alps remain an anchor of stability and prosperity in Europe and a region with strong economic assets. But there are still challenges that must be faced and which go beyond national boundaries: trade flows, traffic congestion, ecosystems, climate change, or pollution. This is why two years ago Alpine Stated and Regions have decided together to reinforce the region's assets by setting up the EU  Strategy for the Alpine Region. . The quick start of its implementation has raised many expectations amongst stakeholders. Today and tomorrow representatives from European, national and regional representatives, as well as other stakeholders meet in Munich to take stock of what has been achieved through the Strategy and to look at the remaining challenges.

    An important dialogue framework for the 7 EUSALP countries, the first EUSALP Annual, Forum, jointly organised by the European Commission and the current Bavarian Presidency, will focus on how to addressg the major challenges  together in cooperative way.. The ministers representing the 7 countries will adopt the "Munich Joint declaration on the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region, confirming their countries' commitment to address the current challenges together!.

    More Information

    1st Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region

    Factsheet of European Union Strategy for the Alpine Region

    About the Strategy




    Tomorrow, the Commissioner for regional policy Corina Crețu will be in Munich, Germany, to participate in the first annual Alpine macro-regional Strategy Forum alongside Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the Committee of the Regions. "This first forum will be an opportunity to make an initial assessment and to renew our commitment to the strategy, to work more closely together, across borders, in this big and beautiful region” stated Commissioner Crețu, "It will also be an opportunity to reflect on the future of our macro-regional strategies after 2020." The Alpine Strategy, which brings together seven countries (France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Slovenia, as well as Liechtenstein and Switzerland) along with 70 million people, aims to further pool resources in the region to address common challenges, such as air pollution, road congestion and to increase trade. These resources include 80 different programmes financed by European Structural and Investment Funds; the aim of the strategy is to ensure the best use of the aforementioned programmes for everyone. 

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The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region involves 7 countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland.

It builds 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 and the European Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region.

The Commission adopted a Communication and an Action Plan on the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region on 28 July 2015 . This followed the invitation from the European Council in December 2013. It also took account – inter alia – of the on-line public consultation that was held in 2014, and the debates and discussions in the Stakeholder Conference on the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (Milano, December 2014).

The Alpine region is one of the largest economic and productive regions in Europe where about 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.

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 Commission has encouraged Member States and regions to ensure that the Alpine Strategy is properly embedded in EU regional policy 2014-2020 programmes, as well as other relevant EU, regional and national policy frameworks.

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.

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