The objective of the one-day seminar is to discuss on policies, projects and governance that contribute to the development of mountainous areas in the EU. It will bring together EU Institutions, Interreg programmes, stakeholders and representatives of the civil society.
Mountain settlements are often characterised by isolation, meaning considerable distance from urban or sub-urban hubs where services (education, health) and business or cultural opportunities can be widely accessed. This is per se not necessarily a handicap, when sufficient economic activities (especially in the fields of tourism and agriculture) allow to maintain the population in mountain areas; however, it is a fact that numerous settlements suffer from depopulation, brain-drain, ageing of resident population, which in turn leads to further decrease of the services offered, in a vicious circle.
Cohesion policy aims at ensuring equal opportunities wherever people live (access to jobs, services, transport, etc.). National and EU funds give the possibility to improve living situations in areas which otherwise would be easily abandoned. When support leads to the arising of sustainable economic activities, mountain areas are able to continue on their development path with less public funds.
Given that several mountain areas are across borders (Alps, Carpathians, Pyrenees, Balkans, Scandes), cooperation between several countries plays a fundamental role. "Development" requires cooperation both on the "national" level and "beyond borders". This takes the form of cross-border cooperation, mountain-range based cooperation or transnational/ interregional cooperation. It is therefore no surprise that several good practices/cooperation projects have been developed in mountain areas (shared services supply, joint initiatives).
The one-day event of 9th November 2018 will bring together actors from cooperation projects (programme authorities and beneficiaries), organizations dealing with mountain development and interested stakeholders. The underlying message is that cooperation in mountain area is indispensable but also show that it leads to concrete results, and as such should be continued intensively in the future.
Conference Centre Albert Borschette, Rue Froissart 36, Brussels