Vienna/Zagreb, 20 December 2013 Press release

European Council decides to develop an EU Alpine Space Strategy

Foreign Minister Kurz: Macro-regional strategy for the Alps will open up new opportunities for Austria and Europe

Vienna/Zagreb, 20 December 2013 – In its session of 20 December 2013, the European Council called for the Commission to develop a macro-regional EU strategy for the Alps by June 2015.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz welcomed this decision and emphasised the role of the regions and the civil society in this context: "Thanks to the commitment of the regions and the significant contribution made by Tyrol and representatives of the civil society, this strategy will open up new opportunities for Austria and Europe", Kurz said. He was referring mainly to the protection of biodiversity and natural environments as well as to the sustainable management of energy resources. The strategy will also enable sustainable and socially just growth by improving the area’s competitiveness, boosting innovation and promoting ecological mobility and digital networking.

On 18 October 2013, a meeting was held in Grenoble upon the invitation of France, where the Alpine states (Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, Switzerland) and Alpine regions adopted a political declaration that called for the development of a macro-regional strategy for the Alpine area. "The European Council has now responded to the strong political will of the states and regions in the Alps that was reconfirmed in this declaration. The political will is also reflected in a decision of the European Parliament of 23 May 2013 that was adopted with strong non-partisan support thanks also to the advocacy of Austrian MEPs Richard Seeber and Karin Kadenbach", the Foreign Minister continued.

"We look forward to close cooperation with the European Commission and all other stakeholders in working out the Strategy. It is important in this context that we make the best possible use of existing structures, in particular the Alpine Convention domiciled in Innsbruck, and that positive results are achieved for all citizens of the Alpine space. This new macro-regional strategy will take account of the farsighted concerns expressed by civil society, and we will make sure that the civil society will be fully involved in the process", Kurz said.

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