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Our vision of mountain areas

Our mountains are territories with a future and opportunities for Europe

plitwitz-67175_1280We assert that mountains are distinctive areas of Europe, because of their altitude, their slopes, their population density, their challenges and their opportunities, and consequently should be addressed specifically.

We call for public and private investment in these areas. The return on investment might indeed be longer in these areas than in urban areas or lowlands, but the investment itself will undeniably be more sustainable.

We are proud of our strengths

Mountain territories have numerous assets on which they can build their development :

  • mountain-bike-55368_1280The quality of life of mountain populations :
    an intense community life, a privileged living environment, very rich culture, traditions and heritage ;
  • The positive image of mountain areas ;
  • Rare, preserved and renewable resources (air, forest, water)  ;
  • The production of goods and services : tourism, handcrafts, agriculture, industry ;
  • Efficient factors of production : human capital, natural resources capital (space, water, air, timber); business partnerships (clusters…) ;
  • Conditions for sustainable production : respect for the environment, preserved biodiversity, landscape management, innovative management of natural resources ;
  • Modern and often dynamic governance; natural ‘handicaps’ have always been a source of imagination, and territorial innovation is more developed in the mountains than elsewhere; hence these innovations have often inspired those living in other areas.

Weaknesses to overcome

icy-channel-962_1920(1)Mountain people must however confront specific and heavy constraints, that they must turn into opportunities to meet the challenge of sustainable development :

  • Problems of remoteness and accessibility : lack of services, lack of knowledge and skills, sometimes difficult relationships between residents and non-residents; infrastructures that, in some cases, remain to be developed ;
  • Problems related to competition in sustaining both economic activities and the environment ;
  • Sparseness of businesses, size of businesses, and difficulty in passing them on to younger generations;
  • Sparseness of population; difficulty of reaching the critical mass necessary to provide services of general interest ; low attractiveness of seasonal jobs (low and precarious income) ;
  • Constraints on agricultural activity due to soils and climate ; difficult access to land ;
  • Mountain specificities are not sufficiently integrated in regional, national and European policies.
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Yesterday at @EUparliament, @Franc_Bogovic hosted the first event of the #SmartVillages intergroup - MEPs and other stakeholders working together on innovative solutions for Europe's sparsely populated, mountainous and rural areas!
➡️ https://t.co/0V9aYsBLnl

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The #EuropeanParliament with @Franc_Bogovic and key stk groups has launched the intergroup on #smartvillages for Rural Communities to discuss how to bring forward this exiting concept in rural areas to combat depopulation and achieve modern and sustainable rural communities https://t.co/gAvkYAfa1L

Today, the FREE Initiative participated in the inaugural meeting of the Intergroup #SMARTVillages for Rural Communities at the @EUparliament in #Strasbourg . Thank you @Franc_Bogovic and @EnginEroglu_FW for hosting this event! #RuralEnergyMatters https://t.co/vI1YacYj6g

Tomorrow, the #FREEInitiative, with @Euromontana @sspa_network @ruraleurope @_CEJA_ and MEPs @Franc_Bogovic and @EnginEroglu_FW, will host the inaugural meeting of the Intergroup #SMARTVillagesForRuralCommunities in #Strasbourg Info: https://t.co/XushWz16rv

. @EURAC published a study on transfers of #ecosystem services. It shows a high demand for mountains' ressources, from water to places for outdoor activities, but also says a lot about rural-urban linkages in mountain areas 👇
https://t.co/azFsWOyKxR

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