The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) connects 7 countries, including 5 EU Member States (out of these three - France, Germany and Italy at regional level, and two - Austria and Slovenia with their whole territory at the national level) and 2 non-EU countries (Liechtenstein and Switzerland). The Alpine region is one of the largest economic and productive regions of Europe covering the resident population of about 80 million people living in total of 48 regions. The Alps are the water tower of Europe and are known all over the world for their natural beauty, varied landscapes, rich biodiversity and cultural heritage, which therefore represent also an attractive tourist destination for millions of guests every year. On the other hand the Alpine area is composed of territories with contrasted demographic, social and economic trends and a great cultural and linguistic diversity. This diversity goes along with a great variety of governance systems and traditions. Both the common specificities of the Alpine area and its variety and diversity call for cooperation.
The EU Strategy for the Alpine region (EUSALP) is based on a joint initiative of Alpine states and regions to strengthen cooperation between them and to address Alpine-specific challenges, such as the balancing of development and environmental protection, the enhancement of competitiveness, and the reduction of territorial disparities.The implementation of EUSALP is organised into nine Action Groups which are addressing implementation of four thematic objectives of the strategy. The first thematic objective "Economic growth and innovation" is closely connected to implementation of smart specialisation strategies.