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PUBLICATIONS, Structural and Cohesion Policies

The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region – EUSALP

Written by Sorina Silvia Ionescu
The village of Bellagio on lake Como

fotoember / Fotolia

The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) builds on a solid background of cooperation in the Region. It is the EU’s fourth macro-regional strategy. The European Commission published on 28 July 2015 the Communication and the Action Plan on the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region. Adoption of the Strategy by the Council is expected in Autumn 2015. The European Council of 19-20 December 2013 had invited the Commission, in co-operation with the Member States, to elaborate an EU Strategy for the Alpine Region and to submit a proposal by mid-2015.

The implementation of 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.

The Strategy will affect around 80 million people living 48 regions in seven countries, of which five are EU Member States (Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia) and two are non-EU countries (Liechtenstein and Switzerland). The Strategy will cover the following thematic policy areas: (1) economic growth and innovation; (2) mobility and connectivity; and (3) environment and energy. It will focus on three interdependent thematic objectives aimed at providing: (1) fair access to job opportunities, building on the high competitiveness of the Region; (2) sustainable internal and external accessibility; and (3) a more inclusive environmental framework and renewable and reliable energy solutions for the future – and a cross-cutting objective (4) building a sound macro-regional governance model for the Region to improve cooperation and the coordination of action.

The Strategy aims to contribute to a better cooperation between the regions and States helping them to tackle the challenges the Alpine Region is facing: 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; and its specific geographical position in Europe as a transit region but also as an area with unique geographical and natural features.

This Keysource provides a selection of relevant documents on Alpine Region and its macro-regional strategy:

EU Institutions’ views

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)

European Commission

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions concerning a European Union Strategy for the Alpine Region, COM(2015) 366 final , 28 July 2015

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions concerning the governance of macro-regional strategies, COM(2014) 284 final , 20 May 2014

Action Plan concerning the EU Strategy for Alpine Region, SWD(2015) 147 final , 28 July 2015

Summary report of the public consultation on the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region, 4 p.

Stakeholders views

Political Resolution towards a European Strategy for the Alpine Region , Grenoble, 18 October 2013, 11 p.
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 three thematic priorities: competitiveness and innovation; environmentally friendly mobility; and sustainable management of energy, natural and cultural resources.

New solidarity between the Alps and surrounding areas / CIPRA position paper on a European Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP, accepted by the Assembly of Delegates of CIPRA International on 10 October 2013, 9 p.
In CIPRA’s view, the Alpine Convention has to be the core element for the EUSALP. The EUSALP and the Alpine Convention should complement each other to create new synergies. It also believes that the EUSALP should refer to the Alps as a core area and the surrounding metropolitan areas as a co-operative area with functional relations. Future co-operation should aim for co-operation on specific matters, with a focus on sustainable development between regions within and outside the Alps, to be viewed in flexible terms. The actors and agencies in the core area of the Alps should be able to make decisions on solutions to Alpine-specific problems.

Alpine Convention: framework convention , entered into force on March 1995
The Convention is a framework that sets out the basic principles of all the activities of the Alpine Convention and contains general measures for the sustainable development in the Alpine region. It entered into force on March 1995.

EU programmes and projects

European Territorial Cooperation Programmes 2014-2020

Alpine Space Programme 2014-2020, approved by the European Commission  ( summary and full text of the programme)
The programme has a total budget of € 139.7 million (€ 116.6 million contribution from ERDF). The Programme will focus on four main priorities: Innovative Alpine Space;Low Carbon Alpine Space; Liveable Alpine Space; and Well-Governed Alpine Space. Expected impacts are as folows: 1000 enterprises cooperating with research institutions in 2023; increase by 1% the level of potential to access and use low carbon mobility and transport options; and increase between 1,0 – 3,0% the level of sustainable valorisation of cultural and natural heritage of the Alpine Space. The eligible regions for funding under this operational programme are: Alsace, Burgenland,Franche-Comté,Freiburg, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Kärnten, Liguria, Lombardia, Nord Ovest, Niederösterreich, Ostösterreich, Oberbayern, Oberösterreich, Piemonte, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano, Rhône-Alpes, Salzburg, Schwaben, Steiermark, Südösterreich, Tirol, Tübingen, Valle D’Aosta, Veneto, Vorarlberg, Vzhodna Slovenija, Westösterreich, Wien, Zahodna Slovenija.

Interreg V-A Germany-Austria-Switzerland-Liechtenstein (Alpenrhein-Bodensee-Hochrhein) Cooperation Programme 2014-2020, approved by the European Commission ( summary and full text )
The programme has a total budget of €56.5 million (€39.5 million contribution from ERDF). The Programme will focus on the following three priorities: competitiveness, innovation, employment and education; environment, energy and transport; and co-operation of administrations and civil commitment. The expected results are: 25 new cross-border co-operations in research; 15 co-operations leading to an improvement of the environmental conditions and 4 commonly elaborated strategies in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy leading to a decrease in CO2 emissions; 20 new products to increase the attractiveness of the common cultural and natural heritage thereby increasing the number of visitors by nearly 40 000; 5 cooperation projects for the conservation of biodiversity, in particular for lake Constance and the Rhine river; and 60 partners in small projects funds for people-to-people activities organised bottom-up in various fields. The eligible regions for funding under this programme are: Freiburg, Schwaben, Tübingen and Vorarlberg.

Interreg V-A France-Switzerland Cooperation Programme 2014-2020, approved by the European Commission ( summary and full text )
The programme has a total budget of €103.3 million (€65.8 million contribution from ERDF). The Programme will focus on the following priorities: bringing organisations closer together for innovation, and supporting innovative projects; protecting and making the most of cultural and natural heritage; encouraging sustainable transport; and promoting employment and providing support for worker mobility. The expected results are: 14 new businesses taking part in research projects; increasing the use of innovation to produce specific applications on the ground; increasing the number of travellers using sustainable transport; increasing the number of coordinated land-use planning initiatives; 20 km of modernised railway lines. The eligible regions for funding under this programme are: Franche-Comté and Rhône-Alpes.

Interreg V-A France-Italy (ALCOTRA) Cooperation Programme 2014-2020, approved by the European Commission ( summary and full text )
The programme has a total budget of €233.9 million (€198.8 million contribution from ERDF). The Programme will focus on the following priorities: applied innovation; a safer environment; attractiveness of the territory; and social inclusion and European citizenship. The expected results are: 20 new cross-border cooperation projects and innovation services created; 95 additional public institutions adopting strategies to tackle climate change; 226 municipalities involved in projects of preservation and valorisation of the territory; 65 cross-border action plans for awareness and management of biodiversity; 400 training and “profezionalizing” teaching path developed at cross-border level; 21 sustainable mobility strategy implemented. The eligible regions for funding under this programme are: Liguria, Piemonte, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Rhône-Alpes, Valle d’Aosta.

Projects 2007-2013

Rhône-Alpes et la coopération territoriale européenne / Region Rhône-Alpes, 8 p.
In 2007-2013, around €72.2 has been invested in 248 projects from ERDF under five European Territorial Cooperation Programmes (Alcotra, France-Suisse, Espace Alpin, MED et Interreg IVC Europe) in Rhône-Alpes region.

ETC Alpine Space Projects

Alpine Convention publishes information on all the projects to which the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention is observer. These projects are co-funded by the European Territorial Cooperation Programme Alpine Space (2007-2013) . They cover different environmental themes and promote sustainable development in the Alpine territory. It  also publishes a list with all projects financed under Alpine Space programme and under other European programmes related to the climate change issues.


A Macro-regional Strategy for the Alpine Region / by Christina Bauer. In: ESTiF-European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, no 1, 2014, pp. 47-53
This article aims to answer to questions regarding the added value, the thematic fields that shall be covered and which governance structure shall be established for the implementation of a macro-regional strategy for the Alpine Region by reflecting on the positions and initiatives taken for the Alpine Region macro-regional strategy.

The Alps-People and pressures in the mountains: the facts at a glance : vademecum / produced by the Alpine Convention, 32 p.
“The MAPs and text in this Convention publication illustrate the physical and human geography of the Alps; those so-called “facts on the ground” that decision makers at all levels, from village to state capital, will have to grapple with in making informed decisions for a sustainable Alps” (source: the document).

The Alps Eight countries, a single territory / Alpine Convention, 2009, 81 p.
This book presents the main topics and policies for the Alps: population and culture; spatial planning and sustainable development; Soil conservation; Water; conservation of nature and landscape protection; mountain farming; mountain forests; transport; energy; and climate.

Further reading

Towards a Macro-Regional Strategy for the Alps / Keysources by Sorina Petrescu and Sorina Ionescu, posted on 22 July 2013


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