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10 years after the Lisbon Treaty: what progress has been made in the Cohesion Policy for mountain areas?

On December 1st, 2019, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty. This Treaty introduced an objective of territorial cohesion through Article 174, which calls for special attention to be paid to “island, cross-border and mountain regions”. But 10 years later, what is the state of play for mountain areas?

It is regrettable to note that Article 174 is only too rarely implemented: mountain areas do not receive the attention they deserve in the programming and implementation of regional policy programmes“, stresses Juanan Gutierrez, President of Euromontana, “significant progress is still to be made and Euromontana is ready to support managing authorities in taking better  consideration of the specificities of mountains in their future programming. We have recently published a short guide to give managing authorities concrete ideas on how to implement Article 174“.

While Euromontana had welcomed the publication of a Green Paper on territorial cohesion in 2008, which recognised the particularity of areas with specific geographical constraints (islands, mountains, depopulated areas), or the implementation of an Alpine macro-regional strategy in 2013, it must nevertheless be pointed out that mountain territories rarely receive special attention. According to Gilda Carbone, author of the expert report on geographical specificities: mountains, islands and depopulated areas (2018), there is a gap between the programming and implementation of cohesion policy which does not properly consider the specificities of mountain territories.

It is now time to truly implement Article 174 of the Lisbon Treaty. Euromontana therefore calls on the European Commission:

  • to revise the territorial agenda by targeting the needs of territories with specific geographical constraints in particular;
  • to ensure that these territories are taken into account in the programming and evaluation of future Operational Programmes and in particular to support them in the implementation of functional territorial approaches within the framework of priority objective 5 on “a Europe closer to its citizens”;
  • to develop a long-term vision for rural areas that considers the specificities of mountain territories.
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12 December 2019

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