What is a Macroregional strategy?

A 'Macroregional strategy' is an integrated framework endorsed by the European Council, which may be supported by the European Structural and Investment Funds among others, to address common challenges faced by a defined geographical area relating to Member States and third countries located in the same geographical area which thereby benefit from strengthened cooperation contributing to achievement of economic, social and territorial cohesion.

Why a Macroregional Strategy for the Alpine area?

The Alpine area is composed of territories with contrasted demographic, social and economic trends and a great cultural and linguistic diversity. This diversity goes along with a great variety of governance systems and traditions. Both the common specificities of the Alpine area and its variety and diversity call for cooperation.

The Alpine region represents a living and working space for the resident population and an attractive tourist destination for millions of guests every year. The Alps are the water tower of Europe and are known all over the world for their natural beauty, varied landscapes, rich biodiversity and cultural heritage.

The Alpine region is a unique territory, which has an important potential for dynamism, but facing major challenges, such as:

• Economic globalisation that requires the territory to distinguish itself as competitive and innovative by developing the knowledge and information society

• Demographic trends, characterised particularly by the combined effects of ageing and new migration models

• Climate change and its foreseeable effects on the environment, biodiversity and on the living conditions of its inhabitants

• The energy challenge at the European and worldwide scales, which consists in managing and meeting demand sustainably, securely and affordably

• Its specific geographical position in Europe, as a transit region but also as an area with unique geographical and natural features with set the frame for all future developments

An Alpine macro-regional strategy would provide an opportunity to improve cross-border cooperation in the Alpine States as well as identifying common goals and implementing them more effectively through transnational collaboration.

Better cooperation between the regions and States is needed to tackle those challenges.

The European Council Presidency Conclusions of 19/20 December 2013 include at paragraph 50: "(…/…) the European Council invites the Commission, in cooperation with Member States, to elaborate an EU Strategy for the Alpine Region by June 2015".

This Strategy concerns 7 Countries, of which 5 EU Member States (Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia) and 2 non-EU countries (Liechtenstein and Switzerland), and 48 Regions.


The overarching challenge for the Alpine Region is to balance development and protection through innovative approaches which strengthen this area located in the center of Europe as a living space for people and nature as well as a field for economic and social activities in a sustainable way.

Enhancing attractiveness and competitiveness of the Alpine Region as well as reducing social and territorial disparities for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the region constitutes a tailor-made contribution to the growth of the region in line with EU 2020 Strategy objectives.

The EU-Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) aims at ensuring mutually beneficial interaction between the mountain regions at its core and the surrounding lowlands and urban areas, flexibly taking into account the functional relationships existing between these areas.

The EUSALP promotes the Alpine Region in its function as an EU laboratory for effective cross-sectorial and multi-level governance, strengthening cohesion within the Union, deepening the cross-border cooperation of institutions and actors in this environmentally sensitive key European area at the crossroads of cultures and traditions.

It is a unique example of a Strategy initiated in a bottom-up approach by the people and backed by the States and Regions.

As its main objective, the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region aims to ensure that this region remains one of the most attractive areas in Europe, taking better advantage of its assets and seizing its opportunities for sustainable and innovative development in a European context.

The Strategy will focus on areas of (macro) regional mutual interest. Therefore, the priority areas and specific objectives selected should reflect genuine commitment to working together to achieve common solutions to challenges or unused potential.

The main objective above will be attained through the following 3 thematic pillars and priorities:


18 october 2013: A common intervention paper has been developed and was signed together with a political resolution by the seven Alpine States and the Regions in Grenoble, France. The objective was to submit these papers to the European Council before the end of 2013.

19-20 December 2013: The European Council invites the European Commission, in cooperation with Members States, to develop a strategy for the Alpine area.

December 2013-July 2014: Preparation of a Consultation Document for the Strategy

16 July – 16 October 2014: On-line public general consultation

1-2 December 2014: Conference to present the results of consultations and assess the state of the art of the Strategy

January-May 2015: European Commission will prepare the Action Plan and Communication for the EUSALP

June 2015: Adoption by the Commission

Autumn 2015 (provisional): Adoption by the Council

Autumn 2015: Kick-off Conference after adoption of the Strategy


29 June 2012: Bad Ragaz Conference: Concerned Regions approved an Initiative Document towards an EU Strategy for the Alpine Region

12 October 2012: Innsbruck Conference: Concerned States and Regions decide to work together and establish a Parithetical Committee that prepares a technical document (Intervention document) identifying the main elements of a EU Alpine Strategy (territorial needs, added value, objectives, pillars, etc)

23 May 2013: The EU Parliament – Resolution in favour of a EU Strategy for the Alpine Region

18 October 2013: Grenoble Conference - States and Regions sign a political declaration, including also the Intervention document, asking for the launching of the UE procedure for the adoption of an EU Alpine Strategy

Agreements (States and Regions)

20 December 2013: The European Council mandates the European Commission to prepare by June 2015, in collaboration with Member States, an EU Alpine Strategy.

17 December 2013: European Commission, States and Regions established a Steering Group accompanying the preparation of the Strategy, building on the Intervention document.

Mandate to the European Commission (the process starts)

11 February 2014: The Commissioner for Regional Policy convenes a political conference, to confirm Member States commitment and define the steps needed to fulfil the European Council mandate

February-July 2014: The Steering Committee prepares a "Consultation Document" as a reference and guidance for the stakeholder consultation. Three thematic sub-groups are established, one for each pillar of the Grenoble document

Consultation Document



Macro-regional Strategies