Operational Programme 'Alps'

Programme under the 'Regional Competitiveness and Employment' Objective cofinanced by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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On 20 December 2007 the European Commission approved a Multiregional Operational Programme for the Alps region in France for the period 2007-2013.

This Operational Programme comes under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective and has a total budget of about 72 million euros. The aid provided by the European Union (EU) under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some 35 million euros, representing about 0.2 % of Community aid to France as part of the cohesion policy for 2007-2013.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The strategy of the operational programme is based in particular on:

  • regional issues highlighted by an identification and analysis of the region’s weaknesses and potential;
  • the Community and national strategic framework, setting out the principles for the allocation of Community funding.

The Alpine massif has the specific advantages of mountainous regions: the beauty and grandeur of the landscape, the closeness of nature, the quality of the forests, a network of small and medium-sized towns, the proximity of recreational areas and the presence of large towns in the surrounding area (Nice, Toulon, Marseille, Avignon, Valence, Lyon, Geneva).

However, there are also disadvantages: relative isolation from Italy, incomplete transport networks, unpredictable weather conditions, pressure on property prices, increased natural hazards, difficult topography and increasing competition in terms of the tourist economy.

In light of this, the regional authorities have set out a strategy based on three priority objectives:

  • increasing in a sustainable manner the competitiveness of the valley systems around or mid-mountain resorts;
  • managing natural hazards specific to the mountains;
  • developing the use of wood-based energy and of other renewable energies.

2. Expected impact of the investment

The Community funding should make it possible to:

  • strengthen the competitiveness of valley systems by implementing 20 diagnostics and 10 innovative governance systems for valley areas by 2015;
  • promote the creation of sustainable employment (150 jobs by 2015);
  • promote an innovative approach to risk prevention by means of new experiments at 6 pilot sites;
  • improve environmental quality and ensure sustainable development in the Alps region by cutting the production of greenhouse gases (reduction of 12 000 tonnes of oil equivalent by 2015).

3. Priorities

The operational programme is divided into three priority areas:

Priority 1: increasing in a sustainable manner the competitiveness of the valley systems around mid-mountain resorts [approx. 68.5 % of total investment]

The first priority is designed to support the tourist economy in the areas of the mid-mountain resorts which are particularly sensitive to climate change and faced with increasingly fierce European and international competition. To this end, stakeholders in the Alps region are aiming to promote a new approach to competitiveness by developing innovative solutions centred around research applications and appropriate systems of governance. Priority will be given to an integrated approach to the economic development of valley systems comprising the economic, social and environmental dimensions.

Priority 2: managing natural hazards, increasing the mobilisation and local use of wood-based energy and of other renewable energies, promoting energy efficiency in the mountains [approx. 29.2 % of total investment]

This priority is designed to ensure the emergence of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses, and to help them achieve better collective organisation, particularly in sectors which are not highly structured or in employment areas which are in crisis.

This priority is also intended to attract industrial or logistical projects or services which create jobs and to offer regional SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) better conditions for their development in the light of international competition.

Priority 3: Technical assistance [approx. 2.3 % of total investment]

Technical assistance provides cofinancing for management, monitoring, evaluation, coordination, information and communication activities.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Alps'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Increasing in a sustainable manner the competitiveness of the valley systems around mid-mountain resorts 23 500 000 24 000 000 47 500 000
Managing natural hazards, increasing local mobilisation and use of wood-based energy and of other renewable energies, promoting energy efficiency in the mountains 10 236 532 10 500 000 20 736 532
Technical assistance 1 200 000 450 000 1 650 000
Total 34 936 532 34 950 000 69 886 532