The Stakeholder Conference on the European Union’s Strategy for the Alpine Macro Region (EUSALP) was held in Milan on 1 and 2 December 2014 at the Lombardy Regional Government Headquarters.
EUSALP is a way of sharing objectives and coordinating funds involving the 48 regions on the borders of and within the seven-nation “Alpine Macro Region”.
Organized jointly by the Italian Presidency of the European Union Council, the Region of Lombardy and the European Commission, the event was a significant success, attracting over a thousand participants from the seven nations involved (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Lichtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland).
In the afternoon session on 1 December, Corina Cretu, European Commissioner for the European Commission’s Regional Policy spoke.
Benedetto Della Vedova Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Gianclaudio Bressa Undersecretary of State at the Department for Regional Affairs, and Barbara Degani Undersecretary for the Environment, all stressed the importance of the Milan summit to the process of establishing the Alpine macro region:
Roberto Maroni President of the Lombardy Region, which coordinates the seven Italian regions within the macro region, declared, “The Alpine Macro Region is not a utopia, it is a tangible project for a Europe that is closer to its people.”
The intention is for it to be “a workshop for tangible and feasible projects, starting with EU 2014-2020 planning.” Sergio Chiamparino President of the Conference of Regions and of the Piedmont Region, specified that the macro region does not stand in opposition to national states, but rather aims to fortify relations between Europe and local territories.
The conference continued with speeches by ministers from the seven EUSALP States and representatives from its 48 Regions.
Three theme-based workshops were held at the 2 December morning session, following on from the political debate on the afternoon of 1 December, one for each of the three Strategy pillars:
(1) Economic development, competitiveness and innovation - view the video
(2) Transport and connectivity - view the video
(3) The environment, including the sustainable management of natural and cultural resources, and of energy - view the video
President Roberto Maroni was highly satisfied with the two days dedicated to the Strategy: "The Government was here, but most of all we’ve seen full support from the European Commission. That’s the main thing. We have set off on the right foot".
Maroni went on to say, "What’s new is that we are seeing the birth of a regions-based Europe; that’s the true takeaway from today’s event." The President of Lombardy explained: "The 48 regions will adopt a system of governance that envisages political leadership alternating each year between the seven countries that make up the Macro Region, and an executive committee to implement policies on the three ‘pillars’: supporting enterprise, communications and mobility, and environment.".