Services of general interest

Maintaining high quality of life in mountain areas

Equal access to services of general interest is a core issue affecting the functionality of mountain areas

DCF 1.0

Ensuring that the mountain population has access to postal services, health care, telecommunications or daily needs is not only contributing to maintaining a high quality of life in these regions but also to territorial cohesion throughout Europe. The European Commission underlines the importance of services of general interest by stating “Services of general interest play a major role in ensuring social, economic and territorial cohesion throughout the European Union” (Source: White Paper on services of general interest COM 2004/374).

Creating and implementing solutions adapted to the specificities of mountain areas


Mountain areas face difficulties to maintain existing services due to remoteness, difficult topography, high cost of maintenance, changing/new needs of the local population etc. Furthermore, ICT infrastructure and related ICT skills that could contribute to the sustainable delivery and maintenance of services are often lacking in mountain areas, where work has still to be done to bridge the digital divide. This challenging situation must be overcome by implementing innovative and tailor-made solutions that address the specificities of the areas.

Such solutions do exist already and we encourage the further exchange of knowledge in that respect.

Our actionsroumanie2010-187_postman

Euromontana has been highlighting the importance of services of general interest since its foundation in 1996 and aims to contribute to a better recognition of mountain needs and innovative capacities in this respect.

Policy – representation

post vrin 120x115Euromontana’s position on services of general interest in mountain areas: a collaborative work was launched at the end of 2010 among Euromontana’s members, under the lead of SAB, to establish a position on services of general interest in mountain areas. The position paper will be officially presented during the general assembly in September 2011 and is available here:

  • See the position paper in English
  • The summary  of the position paper dedicated to mountain stakeholders in English
  • The summary of the position paper including political recommendations is available in English.

Follow –up of activities at EU level. Euromontana closely follows and inform its members about European policy development as regards services of general interest.

The European Commission has released four important communications since 2003:

Joint activities with the ACCESS project: ACCESS is an INTERREG IVb project within the Alpine Space Programme.Theproject aims at improving accessibility of services of general interest in rural mountain areas. Euromontana assisted in the organisation of the final conference of the project on 28-29 June 2011.
More information:

Establishing relations to the CyberSUDOE projet: CyberSUDOE (leadpartner: Cybermassif) is an INTERREG IVb (South/West of Europe). Its objective is to improve the competitiveness of SMEs through better use of ICTs. Euromontana supported the organisation of the final conference as well as the development of the good practice guide dedicated to mountain areas. Find out more about CyberSUDOE here.


  • 28-29 June 2011, Milano, Italy
    ACCESS final conference
    More information:
  • 3 February 2011, Brussels, Belgium
    Intergroup “Specific territories” meeting on services of general interest in areas with specificities
    More information:
    Read Euromontana’s article in the section docs and links (members only)
  • 14 October 2010, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
    ACCESS conference: Accessing new ways – Organisational innovations for services of general interest in rural areas
    More information:


  • – Interreg project: The objective was to identify and collect innovative solutions and their transferable success factors in order to overcome the natural handicaps of mountain areas within three sectors. One of these sectors this project was looking at was public and private services.
    Read the final report of theme 1 “Sustainable territorial development and improvement of services in mountain areas”
  • LDTR project – study on services of general interest : In 2006 the LDTR (Loi française rélative au Développement des Territoires Ruraux) project “Exchange of European Experiences regarding the development of services of general interest in mountain areas” constituted another milestone on the way to shape the future development of services of general interest in mountain areas. Read the final report of the project

Do you want to develop a project on services of general interest in mountain areas? Are you looking for partners for such a project? More information: contact Marie Clotteau


To learn more

© : Germano Mattei