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ELIF hosts session on future of Mountain areas post 2027

May 15, 2024 | News

The EU Local Innovation Forum (ELIF) co-organised on May 8th the webinar “Towards a Roadmap for Vibrant Mountain Economies”  which brought together MOVING Project experts and representatives from various  EU institutions and networks who examined how the already ongoing post-2027 EU policy discussions can shape the future EU policies for mountain areas. This is the last policy meeting before the MOVING Final Conference in June.

At a policy crossroad

Bringing together over 80 attendees from different fields, the MOVING and ELIF webinar “Towards a Roadmap for Vibrant Mountain Economies”was held on May 8th, only a few weeks before the European Parliament’s elections. In a moment of high political attention, the future of many European policies is strongly correlated with the next European Parliament (voted in June 2024) and the future European Commission (expected by September 2024). 

Between now and Spring 2025, the European Commission is preparing its proposal for the post-2027 EU policies. This proposal will be discussed with the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to enter into force by January 1st, 2028. 

Organised by the MOVING project, which collected the views of >900 mountain actors, and supported the EU Local Innovation Forum (ELIF), gathering 2000 local stakeholders from all over the EU, this is the last policy meeting of the MOVING project before its Policy Roadmap for the future of mountain areas is presented at the MOVING Final Conference in Brussels in June.   As such it was a great opportunity to have the input of experienced analysis from the EU institutions (European Commission, European Parliament, European Committee of the Regions) and pan European network experts (CEMR and Euromontana). This will inform the policy choices being prepared for the MOVING policy roadmap as to ensure they can realistically land into the the emerging EU policy landscape.

From Strategic Options to a Policy Roadmap for mountains

What should be the role of mountains in the post-2027 EU agenda? This was the key question addressed by the webinar. Silvia Nanni, DG AGRI- European Commission, and Balazs Szechy, European Parliament Research Service, offered an overview of key policies for mountain areas and their potential evolutions in the future. In this respect, the progress report of the EU’s Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas, the 9th Cohesion Report and the High-Level Report on the Future of the Cohesion Policy underline the urgent need to address territorial gaps and rural needs in Europe. 

But, how do to so? Through a set of foresight workshops and stakeholder engagement activities, the MOVING project identified 30 Strategic Options for enhancing mountain sustainability. Strategic Options describe concrete and replicable solutions to existing mountain challenges. Strategic Options can also be replicated, with minor or major adaptation, to other mountain regions through the establishment of supporting policies. 

The MOVING Policy Roadmap builds on these Strategic Options and identifies 7 building blocks to unlock the power of mountain value chains: 1) Better Governance & Regulation, 2) Ensuring Mountain Livelihoods, 3) Skills, Knowledge & Innovation, 4) Collaboration & Networking, 5) Balancing Ecology and Society, 6) Preparing & Adapting for Change, 7) Sustaining the Use of Local Assets. 

Mountain areas need holistic approaches

In a final round table, representatives of EU institutions and networks shared their views on what post-2027 EU policies should look alike to support Europe’s mountains. Speakers underscored the tendency of policies to operate in isolation, highlighting the value of integrated building blocks with a cross-cutting nature and a mixed approach. Specifically, they found the inclusion of infrastructure support and the enhancement of governance to be particularly compelling.

Michael Schmitz, Council of European Municipalities and Regions, stressed the importance of reviewing the distribution of funds between urban and rural areas. It also points out that there is still a gap in funding priorities and at the level of distribution of competences. GuillaumeCorradino, Euromontana, insisted on the need to consider not only what is designed at European level but also at national level. It is necessary to continue sharing good practices at Member State level. Klaus Boele, insisted on the strategic role of cross-cutting approach and the need to include targeted measures for mountains in other policies beyond the Common Agricultural Policy and Cohesion Policy. 

The MOVING project will integrate the outputs of the discussion in its Policy Roadmap and Recommendations, that will be presented at the MOVING Final Conference (13-14 June 2024, Brussels) before they are submitted to the European institutions.