Political leadership implies both a political and operational dimension. Strong and structured political support, with ministers determining the overall direction of the Strategy, taking ownership and responsibility, aligning policies and funds, and providing the resources and status for decision making, is crucial.
This level should ensure the overall political orientation as well as providing strategic thematic guidance and decisions on actions. To ensure a balanced distribution, a rotating presidency will be set up. It can be allocated to all participating States and Regions with the agreement of the Commission. As already experienced in other macro-regional strategies, the organisation of a ministerial meeting concerning each policy area gathering together ministers and/or presidents of the Regions (according to the political and institutional organisation in each State and Region) on a regular basis is considered as a good practice. It would help maintain the political momentum of the Strategy in the area concerned and deliver clear political messages about actions to take and priorities to achieve.
Each country should show its commitment, in particular by making sure that the key partners in the implementation of the Strategy (such as coordinators and implementers at objective and actions level) get the necessary recognition and legitimacy to fulfil their tasks. They should receive a clear mandate and appropriate resources and time allowing them to work in satisfactory conditions and in effective collaboration with the relevant national/regional administrative departments and policy-making and implementing bodies.
As regards the level of overall political steering and decision-making, the Milan Declaration foresees the setup of ‘a General Assembly to be held on a regular basis’. The General Assembly should gather the high-level political representatives of States and Regions involved in the Strategy, the European Commission, and the Alpine Convention as observer. Decisions should be made by consensus, with one vote for each country delegation. The European Commission will act as a facilitator and coordinator and will co-chair the meetings, without voting right. The Commission will confirm that decisions taken by the General assembly comply with EU legislation, when appropriate.