Interview with Carla Lostrangio (Euromontana) – Montana174 project’s coordinator
Territorial cohesion is fundamental to achieve resilience and sustainability, how does European Cohesion Policy consider mountain areas?
The European Union provides targetted investments to reduce regional disparities and finance territorial cohesion through the Cohesion Policy. In particular, the Cohesion Policy shall pay a “particular attention to […] mountain regions”, according to the Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This article is crucial for mountainous areas, as it recognises their specificities compared to other territories and, therefore, it foresees specific measures to overcome territorial disparities. Unfortunately, mountain citizens and actors are too often unaware of what the Cohesion Policy supports in mountain areas.
Why does the Montana 174 project exist and what does it do??
The Montana174 project was created to address an important challenge: to make people aware of what the Cohesion Policy does in their region and how they can benefit from it. It is a one-year communication campaign taking place between October 2021 and September 2022. Montana174 is coordinated by Euromontana, the European Association of Mountain Areas and 5 mountainous regions Auvergne -Rhône-Alpes (France), Aragon Region (Spain), Croatia, Lombardy Region (Italy) and Slovenia are also associated thanks to our local partners
What kind of activities will the project carry out?
Montana174 will explain in simple and concise terms how the Cohesion Policy changes the life of mountain citizens. In December 2021, we described the stories of 25 mountain citizens and how the Cohesion Policy improved their daily lives in mountains. These stories show for instance how a computer specialist in the Lombardy Region (Italy) can now use a co-working space funded by cohesion funds or how the owner of a rural multiservices shop in the Aragon Region (Spain) can now use shared electric vehicles to go to her shop.
We also published a collection of good practices to showcase how the Cohesion Policy has supported in recent years youth and employment, tourism, mobility, innovation and the fight against climate change in European mountains. These brochures show, for example, how initiatives funded by the Cohesion Policy help young people to find their first job in the Slovenian Alps, or how carpooling services, to and from work, can be set up in the French-Swiss Jura. In fact, these examples show that Cohesion Policy is everywhere in our daily lives, and that these funds are used to improve the lives of mountain people and to help address daily challenges that mountains inhabitants face.
These tools already show that Cohesion Policy is shaping mountain areas. But we want to go further and we want to encourage mountain people to benefit even more from these Cohesion funds in the coming years. In the next months, Montana174 will publish a collection of factsheets to explain how mountain actors can access the new 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy to finance their own project. Local workshops in different mountain regions will also be organised to present these funds and how to benefit from them and answer questions from mountain citizens.
To remain updated, follow the project’s website, subscribe to the newsletter and read the project leaflet! Montana174 newsletters and documents are all available in English and 5 more languages: Croatian, French, Italian, Slovenian and Spanish.
The Montana174 project has received funding from the European Union’s Directorate General Regional and Urban Policy under Grant Agreement No 2020CE16BAT209. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.