With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people living in mountainous regions.
Mountains cover nearly 30 % of EU territory. Highly valued for their rich natural resources, their fresh, bracing air and their beautiful landscapes, mountain areas are attractive places to live. Mountain dwellers know first-hand, however, that their regions’ specific geographical features (remoteness, topography and climate) also pose concrete problems for day-to-day activities, the most obvious being difficult access to key infrastructure, facilities and services, be that transport, education, healthcare, broadband, or business support.
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Through its regional policy programmes, the EU supports a wide range of projects offering practical solutions to these problems, including cross-border initiatives. The construction of a French-Spanish hospital in Cerdanya in the Pyrenees is one prominent example. The EU has also set up a specific strategy for the Alps, within which 7 countries and 48 regions have joined forces to secure the sustainable development of their territory. The focus ranges from accessibility and mobility to employment and energy.
Altitude, climate and steep slopes sometimes prevent the use of conventional machinery, and mountain farmers work in a particularly challenging environment. The EU, through its common agricultural policy, supports farmers located in mountainous areas and facing ‘natural or other specific constraints‘, compensating them for their agricultural production under difficult conditions. It has also launched a ‘mountain product‘ quality label to help mountain farmers market and raise the profile of their produce.
- EPRS publication on ‘The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region’, 2016, europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2016/586640/EPRS_BRI(2016)586640_EN.pdf
- European Parliament Intergroup on Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas, rumra-intergroup.eu
- European association of mountain areas, https://www.euromontana.org/en/