EPRSLibrary By / September 4, 2013

Towards a Macro-Regional Strategy for the Alps

The European Council of 19-20 December 2013  invited the Commission, in co-operation with the Member States, to elaborate an EU…

© oscity / Fotolia
© oscity / Fotolia

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 . The deadline for presenting a proposal is mid-2015. The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region will involve 7 countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland. 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; and sustainable management of energy, natural and cultural resources.

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.

This EP Library Keysource provides a selection of relevant documents on the Alpine area.

Stakeholders’ point of view

European Parliament

European Parliament resolution of 23 May 2013 on a macro-regional strategy for the Alps, P7_TA(2013)0229, 23 May 2013

European Council

European Council Conclusions, 19-20 December 2013, EUCO 217/13

Council Decision 96/191/EC of 26 February 1996 concerning the conclusion of the Convention on the Protection of the Alps (Alpine Convention)


Innovation Policy Instruments in Rhône-Alpes – Key Challenges and Future Orientations / by Dorota Czyżewska, World Economy Research Institute, No. 317, Warsaw 2013, 22 p.
The paper is an attempt to show to which extent selected innovation policy instruments in Rhône-Alpes are drivers of regional competitiveness. It offers an overview of recent regional economic performance as well as socioeconomic key conditions, regional innovation policy instruments which foster regional competitiveness and, proposes challenges and policy orientations.

Strategy-development for the Alpine Space: final report / Erik Gloersen, Thomas Bausch, Harold Hure, Wolfgang Pfefferkorn, Filippo del Fiore and Carlo Ratti, Alma Zavodnik -Lamovšek, Alpine Space Programme, May 2013, 131 p.
This report presents the outcomes of a group of expert’s analyses and reflections on the Alpine Space Programme projects. It reflects on a number of issues related to Alpine Space and makes suggestions on which an Alpine macro-region could focus its efforts in the first phase.

Strategy-development for the Alpine Space: key statements / Erik Gloersen, Thomas Bausch, Harold Hure, Wolfgang Pfefferkorn, Filippo del Fiore and Carlo Ratti, Alma Zavodnik -Lamovšek, Alpine Space Programme, 31 July 2012, 8 p.
This document emphasizes ten key statements with a focus on regional development in the Alpine space.

Green Corridor Contracts / Regiostars, Rhône-Alpes Region, January.2012, 8 p.
Green Corridor Contracts are an operational and financial tool meant to connect or re-connect different natural core areas in order to preserve the ecological continuity of the Rhône-Alpes region. The contracts are drawn up through a permanent dialogue between state authorities, associations and local stakeholders.

Contribution of the Alpine Convention to the process towards a Macro-regional Strategy for the Alps (an “Input paper”) / Alpine Convention, 10 p.
This paper tackles some key issues related to the Alps. It describes the added value of a possible Alpine macro-regional strategy and highlights the perspectives of the Alpine area. The document also emphasizes the potential of the Alpine Convention as a key political framework for the development of the mountain territory.

Clusters and their impact on regional development: The Rhône-Alpes region approach / Rhône-Alpes Region, 11 p.
This brief impact assessment  includes the clusters policy’s aim, the results and the perspectives for 2013-2020 period.

Smart Specialization: Regional Innovation Strategy (SRI 3S) in Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur / Region Provence-Alpes- Côte d’Azur (PACA), 7 p.
This short document provides an overview of the regional innovation strategies in PACA region.

Summary of french regions’ regional innovation strategies / Europ’Act, Knowing European programmes, Datar, January 2012, 40 p. (see p. 34-37)
This publication highlights the thematic priorities of the regional innovation strategies, the key proposals, the weaknesses and strengths of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Rhône-Alpes region.

A macro-regional strategy for the Alps? / By Christian Salletmaier, Land Salzburg, Managing Authority of the Transnational Programme Alpine Space, INTERACT, Winter 2011-2012, 2 p.
This article argues that the focus should be on how to intensify cooperation, ensure better coordination, gain political commitment and set up the means to guarantee strong governance over time rather than heading towards a macro-regional strategy.

EU programmes and projects

Operational Programmes

European Territorial Cooperation 2007-2013 Operational Programme: Alpine Space
The Alpine Space Programme cooperation area gets together 7 countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland in order to promote regional development in a sustainable way.

The overall goal of this programme and the specific programme objectives and priorities shall contribute to foster the specific strengths and to make use of the opportunities of the Alpine Space as a transnational territorial cooperation area as well as to reduce the identified weaknesses and threats. Based on the analysis of the cooperation area and the framework conditions as set out by the European Union the present programme concentrates on three topics for transnational cooperation in the period 2007-2013: “Competitiveness and Attractiveness of the Alpine Space”, “Accessibility and Connectivity”, “Environment and Risk Prevention”.

Status of Programme Implementation / Alpine Space Programme, Summer 2012, 15 p.
The Alpine Space Programme (ASP) has gained considerable momentum in allocating available funds to high quality projects: 99% of the ASP ERDF funds were committed after 4 calls for project proposals. Twelve additional projects were approved in 2012 leading to a total number of 47 funded projects. The average ERDF grant to each project lies at 1.9 million Euro and an average of 12-13 partners are cooperating under each project. Overall, more than 590 project partners are involved in the approved projects.

The Alpine Space Programme Impact Assessment Report / Metis GmbH, 25 May 2010, 40 p.
The Impact Assessment Study has three objectives: (1) to provide a thorough analysis of long-term impacts of projects co-funded by the ‘Alpine Space’ Programme and assess their compliance with the set programme and project objectives; (2) to find out if there may be varying degrees of success in this respect; and (3) to put particular attention on the variables explaining the effects of the projects and deviations from the objectives.

More documents on the implementation of this programme can be accessed here.

“Italy – France (Alps – ALCOTRA)” 2007-2013 operational programme for cross-border cooperation
The general purpose of the programme is to improve the quality of life of the people living in the area concerned and to promote the sustainable development of cross-border economic and territorial systems through cooperation in the social, economic, environmental and cultural fields.

Operational Programme ‘Rhône-Alpes’
This Operational Programme comes under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective for the 2007-2013 programming period and is centred on 6 priorities.

Projects examples

This sub-section presents different Alpine Space projects outputs and achievements according to five thematic fields: climate change; competitiveness and innovation of SMEs; inclusive growth; low-carbon economy and energy efficiency; resource efficiency and ecosystem management; and sustainable transport and mobility. For an overview of projects currently running under the Alpine Space Programme, please visit this link.

Examples of projects approved under the 3 priorities of the Alpine Space:

Priority 1: Competitiveness and Attractiveness

Priority 2: Accessibility and Connectivity

Priority 3: Environment and Risk Prevention

Policy Recommendations: INTERREG IVC Capitalisation Project with Fast Track Support by the European Commission / Scinnopoli, Scanning Innovation policy Impact, 115 p.

Scinnopoli is a INTERREG IVC, Capitalisation Project based on the insights and good practices of 4 interregional projects on ‘Regional Innovation Policy Impact Assessment and Benchmarking’ (Specific Support Action “Research and Innovation” activity area, Sixth Framework Programme) and further good practices of the partner regions in impact assessment of regional innovation policy. The partnership consists of 9 regions from 8 countries with a good mixture of advanced regions and catching up regions: Bretagne (FR), Flanders (BE), Lower Austria (AT, lead partner), Navarra (ES), Nyugat-Dunantul (HU), Provence-Alpes-Côte d´Azur (FR), Puglia (IT), Schleswig-Holstein (DE), Wielkopolska (PL).

The projects for the Operational Programme ‘Rhône-Alpes’ can be consulted here.

The Regional Plan Climate Air Energy (SRCAE) of the region Rhône-Alpes is a strategic and unique document which integrates climate, air and energy priorities.

In order to increase the competitiveness of companies positioned in the same market but acting on different matters, the Rhône-Alpes region has developed different tools like Rhône-Alpes internationalization cluster programs, the “Clusters Mobility” programme, the Implantis®, BioXCluster, Alps4EU and CLAIRE.

The Arge Alp has developed a series of projects in Germany and Italy.

Useful websites

The Alpine Convention
The Alpine Convention is an international treaty for the Alps signed by 8 Alpine countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia and Switzerland) and the European Union. The Convention comprises eight thematic protocols and acts through several Working Groups and Platforms. The activities are centred around transboundary cooperation.

Commission Internationale pour la Protection des Alpes (CIPRA)
CIPRA is an autonomous non-governmental, non-profit umbrella organisation that has been committed to the protection and sustainable development of the Alps since 1952, becoming an important alpine-wide network. One of CIPRA’s main initiatives was the Alpine Convention.

The Arge Alp
The Association of Alpine States (Arge Alp) is an association of 10 states, provinces and cantons of Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

Community of Tourist Interest in the Vaud Alps (CITAV)
CITAV is a non-profit association, bringing together the municipalities in the districts of Aigle and Pays-d’Enhaut with the scope of promoting and developing tourism in the Vaud Alps region.

Further reading (EP Internal links)

European Union’s macro-regional strategies / by Sorina Ionescu, posted on 10 July 2013
This Library Keysource provides a selection of relevant documents on the EU strategies for macro-regions.

Books and articles  available in the EP Library collection on Alpine space/Alps

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