FDFA's state secretary, Alexandre Fasel attended the EUSALP General Assembly in Bad Ragaz today, where he concluded Switzerland's 2023 Presidency together with Aargau Cantonal Councillor Markus Dieth, president of the Conference of the Cantonal Governments (CCG) and with the assembly's host, St Gallen Cantonal Councillor Marc Mächler. At the assembly, the Swiss Presidency put the Alpine region's core concerns at the top of the agenda. This Central European region is not only economically important; its nature and culture represent a rich heritage. A common strategy makes it possible to define overarching priorities and fields of work and to join forces, enabling efficient and solidarity-based action in the Alpine region. "As a European body, EUSALP is a perfect example of cross-border cooperation and thus wholly in keeping with Alpine Switzerland's interests. Specifically, our focus is on working hand in hand with our closest neighbours, tackling shared challenges and problems, and fostering exchanges at all levels of government, as well as with academia and the private sector," said Mr Fasel on the occasion of the opening of the assembly, addressing the member countries' political representatives.
The Alpine states and regions are facing similar economic, geographical and social phenomena. EUSALP's aim is to promote the economic, social and territorial cohesion and cooperation of these regions and countries. Their peripheries contains some of Europe's most attractive and competitive metropolitan areas, such as Milan, Munich, Lyon, Zurich and Vienna. The best way that Alpine entities can benefit from their prime location at the crossroads of Europe is by working together and coordinating their efforts.
7 countries and 48 regions united
In 2023, the Confederation and the cantons, coordinated by the Conference of the Cantonal Governments (CCG), took on the one-year presidency of EUSALP together for the first time. In EUSALP, 7 countries come together with representatives from 48 regions of the Alps. In addition to the 26 Swiss cantons, examples of these regions include Tyrol, Bavaria, Lombardy and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. During the Swiss Presidency, the focus was on three cross-cutting themes: the circular economy, water, and transport and mobility. The one-year presidency kept with federal tradition by holding conferences in Fribourg, Scuol and Lugano, each addressing one of the three themes. This launched EUSALP's process of focussing its substantive work on important core concerns.
Main objective of the Swiss Presidency achieved
At today's assembly, Mr Fasel passed the presidency on to Slovenia, handing over the EUSALP wheel – as a symbol of Alpine tradition and movement – to Slovenia's state secretary for European affairs, Marko Štucin. At the end of the assembly as a legacy of the Swiss Presidency, the "Declaration of Bad Ragaz" will be adopted today.. This forward-looking declaration is intended to formally launch the process of adapting the Strategy, i.e. the EUSALP Action Plan from the body's founding year of 2015, to today's realities. It should also serve to improve EUSALP's thematic prioritisation and focus, thus bolstering its political relevance. With this declaration's adoption, the main goal of the 2023 Swiss Presidency has been achieved.
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