Montana174 final conference: highlights
On 20th September, Euromontana organised the final conference of the Montana174 project in Brussels, Belgium, together with EU institutions, regional authorities, EU associations and more. Discover here the highlights and take-aways.
The Cohesion Policy is of great benefit to mountain areas, but its efficiency can still be improved. This was the general message of the final conference of Montana174, organised by Euromontana at the European Committee of the Regions on 20 September 2022.
Cohesion Policy supports mountain development
Cohesion Policy offers important funding opportunities to invest in costly infrastructure and basic services in mountains, as highlighted by Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis, President of the Regional Assembly of Corsica (France) and Władysław Ortyl, President of the Podcarpackie Region (Poland).
Through Montana174, a one-year communication campaign on Cohesion Policy, Euromontana and its partners promoted numerous initiatives financed by the cohesion funds in the mountains to improve the quality of life of local communities. Good examples in the field of youth employment, adaptation to climate change, mobility and more can be found in the project’s good practice brochures and videos.
Efforts still needed to improve efficiency and absorption of funds in the mountain
Although Cohesion Policy is an essential lever for reducing territorial inequalities, progress is still needed to improve its effectiveness. The complexity of the funds, the high number of interlocutors and the lack of expertise and skills in some mountain areas make it more difficult to absorb the funds in mountain areas. This calls for more information and capacity building but also, as raised by some speakers, for more simplification. For more efficiency on the ground, it was also insisted that Cohesion Policy funds should finance an integrated territorial development strategy, with calls and programmes all aiming at common objectives.
In addition, the conference highlighted the lack of earmarking of funds to mountain areas. Progress has been made with the promotion of rural development through CLLDs and ITIs in the framework of the new Policy Objective 5 “Europe closer to citizens”. However, there is no specific envelope dedicated to Article 174 areas in this new fund structure, as also stressed in Ms Maupertuis’ draft opinion at the European Committee of the Regions “Enhancing Cohesion Policy support for regions with geographic and demographic handicaps (art 174 TFEU)”.
Based on the findings of the Montana174 campaign and on the relevant recommendations made by Ms Maupertuis in her opinion, Guillaume Corradino, Director of Euromontana, called for more capacity building to support local stakeholders and invited the European Commission to better consider the needs of regions of article 174 in the post-2027 Cohesion Policy.
The details of the interventions during the Montana174 conference “How to foster the effective uptake of Cohesion Policy funds in mountain areas?” can be found in the event report.