The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region

29-08-2016

Launched in January 2016, the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) is the latest macro-regional strategy to be set up by the European Union. One of the biggest challenges facing the seven countries and 48 regions involved in the EUSALP is that of securing sustainable development in the macro-region, especially in its resource-rich, but highly vulnerable core mountain area. The Alps are home to a vast array of animal and plant species and constitute a major water reservoir for Europe. At the same time, they are one of Europe's prime tourist destinations, and are crossed by busy European transport routes. Both tourism and transport play a key role in climate change, which is putting Alpine natural resources at risk. Global warming, clearly evidenced by receding glaciers, is threatening not only water supply, but also the winter tourism industry, a vital source of income for many Alpine regions. Although there is a marked gap between urban and rural mountainous areas, the macro-region shows a high level of socio-economic cohesion. Disparities (in terms of funding and capacity) between participating countries, a feature that has caused challenges for other EU macro-regional strategies, are unlikely to be an issue in the Alpine region. Furthermore, the strong bottom-up approach behind the development of the EUSALP should ensure local ownership of the strategy. These are key elements for success. An EP report on the EU Alpine Strategy, adopted in June 2016 by the Committee on Regional Development, is expected to be discussed at the September plenary session.

Launched in January 2016, the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) is the latest macro-regional strategy to be set up by the European Union. One of the biggest challenges facing the seven countries and 48 regions involved in the EUSALP is that of securing sustainable development in the macro-region, especially in its resource-rich, but highly vulnerable core mountain area. The Alps are home to a vast array of animal and plant species and constitute a major water reservoir for Europe. At the same time, they are one of Europe's prime tourist destinations, and are crossed by busy European transport routes. Both tourism and transport play a key role in climate change, which is putting Alpine natural resources at risk. Global warming, clearly evidenced by receding glaciers, is threatening not only water supply, but also the winter tourism industry, a vital source of income for many Alpine regions. Although there is a marked gap between urban and rural mountainous areas, the macro-region shows a high level of socio-economic cohesion. Disparities (in terms of funding and capacity) between participating countries, a feature that has caused challenges for other EU macro-regional strategies, are unlikely to be an issue in the Alpine region. Furthermore, the strong bottom-up approach behind the development of the EUSALP should ensure local ownership of the strategy. These are key elements for success. An EP report on the EU Alpine Strategy, adopted in June 2016 by the Committee on Regional Development, is expected to be discussed at the September plenary session.