What is the Alpine Space programme?
The Alpine Space programme is a European transnational cooperation programme for the Alpine region. It provides a framework to facilitate the cooperation between economic, social and environmental key players in seven Alpine countries, as well as between various institutional levels such as: academia, administration, business and innovation sector, and policy making.
The programme is financed through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as well as through national public and private co-funding of the Partner States. In the current programming period, 2014–2020, the programme is investing €139 million in projects through which key actors develop shared solutions for prevalent Alpine issues. The ERDF co-financing rate is of 85% for partners from Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia. The thematic fields of cooperation are predefined for each programming period of seven years, during which several calls for project proposals are launched.
At the start of each programming period, the Partner States collaborate with regional stakeholders to produce a new set of founding documents, which are then submitted to the European Commission, for review and approval. The final document, known as the “Cooperation Programme”, outlines the programme’s objectives and priorities. It is available here.
A brief history of the programme
Although cooperation in the Alpine region has been present for decades, the first transnational EU cooperation programme for the Alps was only launched in 2000, under the name Interreg IIIB Alpine Space Programme. The decision to set up this structure came after the creation of working communities and of a Joint Pilot Action Programme under article 10 of the European Regional Development Fund regulation, in 1997.
Since then, two more editions of the programme, each running for 7 years, have been approved: the second edition, Interreg IVB ran from 2007 to 2013. From mid 2011 to mid 2013 the Alpine Space Programme ran a process for medium to long-term strategic orientation and priorities for the Alpine Space: the strategy development project.
The third, and current, Interreg VB edition was launched in 2014. With a rising number of project partners in each period, and over 110 projects financed over a period of 14 years, the Alpine Space programme now has an important function in ensuring cooperation between Alpine states.