The European Commission and Switzerland are issuing a call for projects for the 2021-2027 Alpine Space programme. The aim of the programme is to enable Alpine regions to become climate neutral, enhance their competitiveness and to equip themselves to address climate change.

The call will run until 28 February 2022.

The Alpine Space programme is one of the Interreg programmes that forms part of the EU's regional policy to strengthen the regions (see box). Stakeholders from Liechtenstein, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia as well as from Alpine regions in Germany, France and Italy work together in joint projects across national borders. In the coming years, the participating countries and regions want to implement projects in the fields of decarbonisation, circular economy, innovation and biodiversity – and are therefore launching a first call for proposals for the period 2021-2027.

The Alpine Space programme has the following four thematic objectives:

  1. A green Alpine region, adapted to the challenges of climate change
  2. Carbon neutral and resource sensitive Alpine region
  3. Innovation and digitalisation supporting a green Alpine region
  4. Cooperatively managed and developed Alpine region

In the first call for proposals, projects are being sought on the first three priorities. Participation in Interreg projects is open to local and cantonal authorities, federal offices, as well as research institutes, businesses and associations. Participants benefit from exchanging experiences with other project partners, establishing partnerships and developing solutions for their region and their economic sectors. To be eligible, those involved in a project must come from at least three of the participating countries. The European Commission is putting EUR 107 million towards the programme from the European Regional Development Fund. Smaller and shorter projects will now be funded, as well as the classic 3-year projects.

Funding for Swiss participants

Switzerland has been involved in the Alpine Space programme since it was established more than twenty years ago. In the period 2014-2020, 44 Swiss partners launched or participated in 37 projects. Funding was granted to projects on a wide range of topics such as the creation of transnational value chains, the coordination of public transport and carpooling, or Alpine food culture.

Switzerland's involvement in the programme is coordinated as part of its New Regional Policy (NRP). The federal government supports projects involving Swiss actors through funding from the Regional Development Fund managed by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO. A prerequisite for financial participation is that the project meets the objectives of the NRP.

Interreg in the European and Swiss context

In 1990, the European Union launched Interreg programmes to promote cohesion in the European space and balanced development across national borders. The programmes have been continuously developed since then and form part of the European Regional Policy. Switzerland has been involved from the outset, participating in numerous cross-border (Interreg A), transnational (Interreg B) and interregional (Interreg Europe, ESPON, URBACT) projects. The Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) is responsible for Swiss participation in Interreg B programmes, ESPON and URBACT. It also represents Switzerland in the Macro-regional Strategy for the Alps (EUSALP).

Address for enquiries

Sébastien Rieben, International Affairs, Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE
058 462 40 78, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Find out more.


Cover image by Chavdar Lungov.

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