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Alps-Adriatic (At the Austrian-Slovene-Italian border)

Border Type

“old European borders”, “external borders”

The Alps-Adriatic border region, lying at the intersection ofAustria,ItalyandSlovenia, has in the past constituted a number of different types of ‘border’ regions.  The politico-administrative border of the region is essentially also marked by the physical border of the Karavanke mountains (running betweenAustriaandSlovenia), Carnic Alps (running betweenAustriaandItaly) and Julian Alps betweenItalyandSlovenia.

The border was formerly, at least partly, an “old European border”; until 1989 the Iron Curtain, separating east from west, marked the border between Austria and Slovenia and the border between Italy and Slovenia and represented the divide between two very different political and ideological systems. Therefore, the part of the border betweenAustriaandSloveniaand betweenItalyandSloveniaalso represented one of the external borders of the EU (external as in post-communist borders).  The border betweenAustriaandItalyremained an internal border. Hence, the region can be described as constituting a mixed border region up until 2004, composed of both internal and external EU borders. Following the fall of the Iron Curtain, the dissolution of the formerYugoslavia, the emergence of theRepublicofSloveniain 1991 and its later accession to the EU in 2004, this border region became a new border region wholly within the European Union and today  remains an internal EU border region.

Which entities constitute the CB region?

There is no clear definition of the region described here as the Alps-Adriatic cross border region , nor is there any political agreement forming the basis of border region. Essentially this cross border region can be, and indeed is, understood in many different constellations by different actors across the territory, as you will see below.  In its broadest context it is seen as extending along the eastern Alps, down the length of the Adriatic coast and encompassing Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, and Slovenia. Since the mid 1960s the term Alps-Adriatic has, nonetheless, been in regular use in association with formalised transfrontier cooperation between Austria, Italyand Slovenia. For the purpose of defining the cross-border territory, we can say that the Alps-Adriatic region which we are concerned with today essentially comprises the federal state of Carinthia (Austria), the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy) and the Republicof Slovenia.  This is generally the most widely accepted understanding of the Alps-Adriatic region. From a European regional perspective, the region consists of four NUTS level 2 regions: Carinthia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia(FVG), Vzhodna Slovenija (Eastern Slovenia) and Zahodna Slovenija (Western Slovenia). From the perspective of the European Territorial Cooperation Programme there are three relevant programme areas, which also extend beyond the confines of the territory defined above (for example the programme area for the European Territorial Cooperation between Slovenia and Austria also incorporates the southern part of the federal state of Styria, Austria).

What is your range of activity?

The Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (CUAS)

The Carinthia University of applied Sciences (CUAS) is a private non-profit foundation located in the south ofAustria. It encompasses the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule Kärnten) and a research company (Fachhochschule Kärnten Forschungs GmbH). TheSchoolofManagementis one of 3 schools at the university and is located inVillach, which is one of currently five CUAS sites. The study programs have been established in accordance with the demands of industry and the economy and are therefore designed to provide students with both a fundamental scientific basis and specific vocational training. The highly educated and experienced teaching staff (full-time professors, part-time lecturers) come from either industry or/and university backgrounds. Teaching takes place in small groups, which also contributes to the effectiveness of the courses. TheSchoolofManagementcurrently offers four undergraduate study programmes: Public Management, Business Management, Hotel Management and Information Management. Two Masters programmes are also run by theSchoolofManagement: an English language International Business Master (with a focus on South East andCentral Europe) and a Master in Public Management.

CUAS – Selected work

CUAS is involved in a large number and wide range of projects and research activities at cross-border level. In addition, CUAS also designs and delivers further education and training courses in both public management and business management related areas, is involved in consultancy work and has a broad spectrum of partners from both the public and private sectors. See below for selected project work and research activities:

  • IPSOZ – Different Language – Same Culture; Same Language – Different Culture? (09.2010 – 07.2011)

The project addresses issues relating to the European heritage of interculturality and multilingualism as well as the situation of minorities in the respective cross-border regions of the countries involved. As part of the project, higher education institutions working in the field of social work share their special expert knowledge on minority issues and identity question with the project participants.

  • KOOPFLEX (Interreg Project – 01.09.2010 – 30.09.2012)

Cooperation between 3 schools in Carinthia andSloveniafocusing on the topic „Education for flexible automation“) In order to support metal-working SMEs in the Region Savinjska (Zrece) (Slovenia) and inCarinthiain their development of innovative products, it is planned to initiate a cross-border cooperation of the school centre Zrece with the HTL Wolfsberg and CUAS. The cooperation partners will develop and implement a common further education program for flexible automation for students and employees of SMEs.

  • BENCH-PA project: (See ‘Forser – Selected work’ below)
  • INTER-PUMA – Internationalisation of Public Administration 01.08.2010 – 01.08.2011

Businesses working across borders have to be capable of adapting flexibly to the specific legal and administrative framework of the target region. This adaptation process can be facilitated by administrative bodies of the target region taking into account the specific problems and needs international businesses face. However, this implies that in addition to increasing internationalization in the business sector, also public administrations have to get more and more involved in the internationalization process. This project aims to promote internationalization, which is essential for the region, by improving the cross-border cooperation of public administrations while taking into account the interests of businesses.

  • InterregionalInnovationAcademyCarinthia(INNAC) (Interreg Project 01-10-2005 – 01.08.2008)

The aim of the interreg project iNNAC was to support snterprises in the innovation process and to assist them with the planning, implementation and evaluation of this process within the organisation. For that purpose extensive innovation guidelines were developed, which should be considered as the basis for any further action. TheSchoolofManagementdesigned and delivered a series of workshops, in which the participants learned different methods of managing creativity and innovation techniques. Networking and knowledge-transfer between the participating enterprises formed an integral part of this project.

  • GREDIE (Interreg Project) – Economic effects of existing constraints of cross-border service transfer betweenAustriaandSlovenia(01.07.2007 – 31.10.2007

The aim of this project was to examine the economic effects of constraints in the field of cross-border service delivery, which were formulated in the context of the Accession Treaty of Slovenia to the European Union.

  • CBCStudy – Cross-border cooperation in the Alps-Adriatic-Region. A cross-national empirical survey and analyses of the current situation and future potentials (01.07.2010 – 01.03.2011)

Together with the Universities ofLjubljana(Slovenia) andUdine(Italy), the Institute ForSer (Italy) and the Euro Institute (Germany), the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences conducted a study on“Cross-border Cooperation in the Alps-Adriatic-Region”. The aim of this study is to investigate the status quo and further potential of cross-border cooperation in the Alps-Adriatic-Region from the viewpoint of all current and potential key actors. In the course of this study, advantages of doing cross-border-cooperation were revealed and barriers detected. Obtaining practical, specific recommendations for the optimal support and funding of currently existing and future cross-border activities was also a further goal of this study.

ForSer (Italy)

ForSer is an organisation founded by the Association of municipalities of the region Friuli Venezia Giulia (ANCI fvg), which organises training for the civil servants of the Regional Public Administration and municipalities. The organization of training activities is coordinated with the Regional Administration and their objectives agreed. ForSer also works together with training institutions from other European countries and regions with the aim of supporting and strengthening the process of trans-regional and transnational cooperation of the public actors of the region.

ForSer training staff are composed of more than 1000 experts on the different issues of the Public Administration sector.

ForSer (Italy) – Selected work

ForSer offers both training and consultant services including in particular:

  • Training activity: advanced seminars on technical and legal innovation, advanced and general training courses for civil servants and public officials, seminars and conferences for local politicians,  support in designing training needs analysis, surveys and training activities.
  • Consultancy: Action-training and coaching in re-organisation processes, feasibility studies to re-organize services, planning and programs relating to local development, design and management of international cooperation projects, managing EU funds and projects.
  • Research and Development: research, development, benchmarking and benchlearning projects related to Public Administration issues, cooperation projects with training institutions at international level, with the purpose of supporting and strengthening the cooperation processes between the public actors of the region.

In the field of cross-border cooperation:

BENCH-PA project: (see bilateral projects below)

MACC: Modern Art Conservation Center (Interreg Italia-Slovenia)

Youth-Adrinet: Aimed at promoting actions which increase a sense of European identity and the active participation of young people in social life and in the multicultural and multi-ethnical framework of the Adriatic area. (IPA – Adriactic)

At transnational level:

PATRES: Public Administration Training and Coaching on Renewable Energy Sources (IEE)

EU_SKILLS4PA: European New Skills for Public Administration  (Leonardo da Vinci)

EL4PA: European Learning for Public Administration (Leonardo da Vinci)

University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Administration (Slovenia)

TheUniversityofLjubljanawas established in 1919 and now consists of 23 faculties and 3 arts academies. It is ranked among the top 500 universities according to the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities. The Facutly of Public Administration became a member of theUniversityofLjubljanain 1975. Today the faculty carries out its mission in both first-cycle and second-cycle education in administration, academic research, development, and consulting activities, the supplementary professional training of civil servants, and international cooperation with similar education and research institutions.

Given the present need for research and other activities in the field of cross-border cooperation in the Alps-Adriatic Region, the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences together with partners inSloveniaandItalywas involved in 2010 in the foundation of a Cross-Border Network Institute for Applied Research and Training in this region.


Traditional conference The Days of Slovene Public Administration 2010: HOW TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY AND RATIONALITY OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION?
Portorož, GH Bernardin, Emerald Hall, September 23 to 25, 2010

Faculty of Administration, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, the Ministry of Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia,  the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, the Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences Austria, Forser Italy: INTERNATIONAL ROUND TABLE: INTERNATIONALISATION OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

4. Scientific International Symposium on the Development of Public Administration in SouthEast Europe: Rise and fall of the »regulatory state«? 17 – 18 June 2011, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Faculty of Administration, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Austria: Improving National Competitiveness through Cross-border Cooperation in the Field of Public Administration – The Status Quo and Future Potential of Cross-Border Cooperation of Public Administration in the Alps-Adriatic Region.

Tri-national Projects

Project: European Learning for Public Administration – EL4PA (2008-2010)

AIM:To promote European and in particular cross-border cooperation among public  actors and organizations by developing common methodologies and tools for the civil servants’ training as to encourage the mutual understanding and reduce the administrative barriers.


  • models compared and evaluated in terms of transferability and innovativeness for improving attractiveness and quality of Public Administration training
  • discussions on common strategies and opportunities to develop training within the Euro-region “Carinthia – Friuli Venezia Giulia andSlovenia” developed
  • new cross-border projects and cooperations developed
  • common inquiry on cross-border cooperation and issues within the the Euro-region “Carinthia – Friuli Venezia Giulia andSlovenia”, designed by the partners.

Project: Transfrontier Euro-Institut  Network – TEIN (2010-2012)

OVERALL OBJECTIVE: Increase the professionalization of actors on transfrontier issues all overEurope, in different territorial contexts, in all sectors concerned.


  • Exchange best practices/transfer tools/develop concepts
  • Capitalize on experiences
  • Develop a strategy of future common work; assess the need to and up a sustainable European network
  • Analyse the relevance of a quality certification for organizations/training programs on cross border issues.


  • Euro-Institut – coordinator (Germany)
  • CREC, centre de recherche en Etudes Catalanes,
  • Université Perpignan Via Domitia (France),
  • UniversityofGirona(Spain)
  • Université des Antilles et de la Guyane (CEREGMIA) -  Euro Institut Caribéen (France)
  • The Centre for Cross Border Studies (UK–Northern Ireland)
  • Syddansk Universitet (Denmark)
  • Institut Euroschola (CzechRepublic)

Survey: Cross-National Empirical Survey and Analysis of the Current Situation and Future Potentials

All three partners successfully carried out a Cross-National Empirical Survey on the subject of “Cross-border Cooperation in the Alps-Adriatic-Region”. The survey was carried out parallel inCarinthia,Sloveniaand Friuli Venezia Giulia in the period from July till November 2010.

The aim of this survey was to investigate the status quo and further potential of cross-border cooperation in the Alps-Adriatic-Region from the viewpoint of all current and future key actors; to reveal the advantages of cross-border-cooperation; to detect possible barriers and to make recommendations for the optimal support and funding of currently existing and future cross-border activities.

The results of this study will be presented at the tri-national European Cross-border Symposium which will take place inVillachon March 2nd 2011.

European Cross-border Symposium

On March 2nd the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and ForSer Formazione per la Pubblica Amministrazione, Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy hosts a tri-national Symposium regarding the topic “Cross-Border Cooperation in the Alps-Adriatic-Region – Status, Potential and Perspectives – Learning from European Experiences”. Purpose of this event is to discuss the status-quo as well as the future perspectives of cross-border cooperation within the region Carinthia/Friuli-Giulia Venezia/Slovenia and to demonstrate ways to promote a cooperative partnership within this region. Therefore numerous speakers from European Good-Practice regions as well as from politics, administration, economy and science will contemplate and discuss this topic from diverse perspectives as well as present approaches to reach this aim.

Bilateral Projects

Due to some EU-program constraints the partners also developed bilateral projects but always taking into account a trilateral viewpoint (joint project-idea and design but bilateral submission). In particular:

  • Bench-PA project –“Development of a benchmarking and benchlearning process among local public administrations in Carinthia andItaly” – in the framework of the Interreg Italy-Austria Programme (approved and started).
  • Bench-PA project – “Development of cross-border institutional cooperation by means of a benchmarking and benchlearning process among local public administrations” – in the framework of the Interreg Italy-Slovenia Programme (submitted).

Basic data of the border region

Population and surface area of the region

The total surface area of the Alps-Adriatic region is some 38,000[1] km2 (Carinthia – 9,538; Friuli-Venezia Giulia – 7,858 and Slovenia – 20,273), while the population of the area is roughly 3,800,000[2] (Carinthia – 560,000;Friuli-Venezia Giulia – 1,226,000 andSlovenia – 2,021,000).

If we look at the population density again on the basis of NUTS level 2 regions and figures for 2008, it is clear that the population density varies quite dramatically from region to region: Carinthiahas a population density of 59.8 km2; Friuli-Venezia Giulia has 162.3 per km2; in Eastern Slovenia this figure lies at 89.9 km2 and in Western Slovenia at 117.5 km2.[3] Of course the topographical make-up of the different regions must be borne in mind as playing an important role in terms of population density.

Important cities and development hubs across the border

Klagenfurt–Villach(AT),Ljubljana,Maribor(SLO),Udine– Gorizia –Trieste(IT)

Structure of economy (First, Second, Third Sector?

The following table provides a rough outline of the economic performance across the region in terms of added value and employment for the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors.

Table: Importance of the primary, secondary and tertiary economic sectors in 2008 (Adapted by authors) [4]

  Primary sector Secondary sector Tertiary sector
Share of regional GDP Share of employed Share of regional GDP Share of employed Share of regional GDP Share of employed
 Carinthia  2.6% 6.1% 32.1% 29.5% 65.3% 64.4%
Friuli Venezia Giulia 1.9% 3.3% 26.9% 28.0% 71.3% 68.7%
 Slovenia  1.7% 8.7% 34.6% 34.7% 63.8% 56.6%

The table shows that the primary sector plays a relatively minimal economic role in all three territories, nonetheless in Sloveniait accounts for 8.7% of persons employed and in Carinthiafor 6.1%. The European average for the secondary sector is 25%[5], while the figures for the secondary sector are higher in all three territories, accounting for 34.6% of regional GDP in Slovenia. For the tertiary sector, all three territories show GDPs lower than the European average of 72%[6].

Specificities of the economy in the border region (e.g. special economic branches like steel industry, green Energy technology etc.)

Taking the economic profile of the Alps-Adriatic region into consideration, it can be said that the region is typically characterised by its large number of SMEs. Tourism is an important segment of the economy throughout all the territories of the region. The Alps-Adriatic area has a strong traditional manufacturing base: In Carinthia the leading sectors and enterprises are found in wood processing, raw materials, machinery and equipment sectors; in Friuli-Venezia Giulia precision instrument mechanics, ship-building, iron and steel industry, chemicals, furniture and agribusiness sectors are strong, while in Slovenia electrical machinery, car equipment and production, iron and steel industry, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and the agribusiness are leading sectors. [7] The region has also experienced strong growth in high technology sectors such as information technologies, in Carinthia this has also been the case in the microelectronics sector and in Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Slovenia in advanced telecommunications and integrated logistics.[8]

Standing” of the border region à considered as a weak or strong region compared to the average of the national state?

It has been suggested above that the Alps-Adriatic region is largely characterised by regional disparities. This becomes evident if we look at the regional gross domestic product[9] for each of the territories for 2008. The figure for Carinthia was 104, for Friuli-Venezia Giulia the figure was higher at 117, while there was even greater variation in the figures for the eastern and western parts of Slovenia: the figure for Eastern Slovenia was 76 and that for Western Slovenia was 109. [10] This seemingly dramatic difference between the two parts of Slovenia, with the GDP for part of Slovenia significantly lower than the EU average, is less surprising bearing in mind that the capital Ljubljana and its surrounding area is located within the NUTS2 region of Western Slovenia. Distribution of wealth in the region is quite heterogeneous. In terms of the labour market, disparities can also be seen if we consider for example unemployment rates (again from a NUTS level 2 perspective). In 2010 the unemployment rate in Carinthia was 3.9%, in Friuli it was significantly higher at 5.7%, in Western Slovenia it was 6.5% and in Eastern Slovenia the figure was highest at 7.9%.[11]

Links between the jurisdictions in terms of cross border workers, students, consumers, trade relationships, etc.

The region is characterised by very real and imposing physical borders: the Karavanken mountains run between Carinthia andSlovenia, the Carnic Alps run between Carinthia andItalyand the Julian Alps run betweenItalyandSlovenia. The mountainous areas are relatively sparsely populated and the region’s network of mountains and valleys does not ease the transport of goods nor easily facilitate daily commuting among the different territorial units: Traditionally there has been a lack of strong connections between the regions as far as daily commuting is concerned. This can be considered as having a negative impact on the economic development of the region.

General specialties of the border region (e.g. common language, identity feeling etc.)

Not only is the Alps-Adriatic region characterised by the fact that the border consists of not just two but three different politico-administrative systems (Austria,ItalyandSlovenia), it is also distinct in its multilingual and multicultural make up: the region represents the meeting place ofEurope’s three main cultural traditions – the Germanic, Romantic and Slavic traditions. Politico-administrative borders did not always divide the region; throughout the Habsburg era the region can be considered as more or less representing one unit. This changed following 1919 as the border became a contested space in the political tug of war that was the process of nation state building in aEuropeof changing borders. There is little need to detail the sorts of scars that two World Wars left on the territory; these are all too well known. The part of the border which remained a contested space for longest, was the border area betweenAustriaand the formerYugoslavia– with armed border disputes continuing even after 1945. In the second part of the twentieth century the Alps-Adriatic border region came to symbolise the division ofEuropeinto East and West: the Iron curtain became the line of partition separating two opposing ideological systems. With post 1989 developments – the fall of the Iron Curtain, the dissolution ofYugoslaviaand the emergence of the newRepublicofSlovenia- the Alps-Adriatic border region again took new shape and cross border cooperation in the area became more unhindered than in the previous years. The Alps-Adriatic region crucially functioned as the point of contact between post-industrial “Western” Europe and newly emerged post 1989 European states: acting as a bridge linking Northern and Central Europe to the South and Eastern parts ofEurope.

Over the years, however, political tensions across the Alps-Adriatic territory, fuelled in particular by unsolved minority issues, remained troublesome. Without going into further detail on the somewhat problematic nature of inter state relations in the region, which again is beyond the scope of the current analysis, suffice to say that transfrontier cooperation, while playing an important role in the Alps-Adriatic space over the years, has nonetheless followed a rocky path. Today, formalised cooperation between the territories of the region is also complicated be the fact that any negotiations or agreements are conducted between three completely different politico-administrative contexts: Carinthia is a federal state; Friuli-Venezia Giulia is an autonomous region from a regionalising state, which along with other Italian regions is constantly tied up in efforts to find a balance with the national state level; and Slovenia, as a new democratising European state, has no regional level.

Governance/ institutionalisation of cross-border cooperation within the region

Degree of cooperation

Notwithstanding the partly problematic inter-state relations in the Alps-Adriatic region hinted at above, the development of good neighbourly relations over the years has compounded the idea that the territories ofCarinthia,Friuli-Venezia GiuliaandSloveniarepresent some form of unit. Numerous formal and informal structures and initiatives aimed at developing cross-border cooperations throughout this space have emerged, ranging from personal and business networks, political relations, loose and more structured associations, to working communities.

Since the 1960s the idea of an Alps-Adriatic region has been commonly used to describe formalised cross border cooperation between Carinthia, Friuli-Venezia Giuliaand Slovenia.[12]

One of the first types of cooperation between the three territories is considered to have been the setting up in 1965 of an association, Trigon[13], to develop cooperative relations between Carinthia, FVG and Slovenia, particularly focussing on tourism and spatial planning in the border region.[14] It should, however, also be mentioned that cultural exchange in the region occurred much earlier. An actual Alps-Adriatic Working Community (Arbeitsgemeinschaft (ARGE) Alpen-Adria) was founded in 1978 in Venice and became the driving force behind the concept of an Alps-Adriatic region. The initial catalyst behind these developments, as with many good cross border initiatives, was an informal network of closely-knit and well established friendships.[15] The initial Joint Declaration of the ARGE Alpen-Adria in 1978 represented (and was signed by) an extended territorial area encompassing Bavaria, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Carinthia, Croatia, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Slovenia, Styria, and Veneto.[16] The Alps-Adriatic Working Community operates today with an annual budget for common projects of some €108,000[17] and plays a much less significant role in cross-border affairs in region than in the years following its inception, also partly because of the fact that the members are now spread well beyond the Carinthia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Slovenia axis.  The ARGE Alpen-Adria shows interest in a broad spectrum of activities ranging from political, economic, socio-political to cultural. It is perhaps also interesting to briefly mention that on a political level cooperation between Carinthia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Slovenia intensified somewhat through a series of unsuccessful attempts to jointly host the Winter Olympics. This became an important issue on the transnational agenda, particularly throughout the nineties. A number of cross-border projects between, for example, regional development agencies have also played a prominent role in cross-border cooperation in the Alps-Adriatic region. One such example is the ARGE Crossborder – Regionale Partnerschaft Karawanken, which ran between 2002 and 2009 and had a budget of some €530,000.

 Main Developers and drivers of cross border cooperation

In the Alps-Adriatic region a number of attempts have been made to establish Euroregions; with varying degrees of success. These macro-regions typically represent either loose or more integrated cross-border structures involving both state and non-state actors and representing both public and private interests. The actual form of such Euroregions ranges from a working community without legal personality to a non-profit making association or public body. In some cases these structures simply symbolise good neighbourly relations at the political level, in other cases they carry out some form of administrative functions. In most cases a key aim is to attract EU financial support or at least lobby for some form of interregional strategy for the territory concerned.

One of the problems attached to the Euroregion initiatives in the Alps-Adriatic space has been the fact that the different initiatives have partly run parallel to each other and have often been led by different regions, resulting in a sort of interregional competition. It is necessary to point out here that the area concerned in the potential development of Euroregions emerging in or around the vicinity of the Alps-Adriatic space does not correspond directly to the territory constituting the Alps-Adriatic region as defined here.  In 2007, for example, a common idea to create an Euroregion for the Alps-Adriatic space was developed and later formalized by the Land of Carinthia, the Veneto region and FVG region. At that time it was also agreed that it would be necessary to strengthen this agreement using an EGTC and also to evaluate the possibility of including Slovenia and parts of Croathia. The FVG region was in charge of investigating whether or not this enlargement was possible and the result was positive. Euregio “Senza Confini” was the official name given to these efforts.  The founding charter and statutes were agreed on and signed by the three participating territories in 2009, but approval from Rome was and still is pending. Plans to join the extended Euregio Villa Manin, incorporating also Slovenia and two further Croatian regions (Istarska (Istrien) und Primorski-Goranska (Region Rijeka), were originally anticipated for 2010.  Neither of the two Euroregions above has yet taken concrete form, whether or not this will be the case in future is unclear. However, the realisation of the EGTC in order to formalise the Euroregion has become one of the priorities of the Regional government of FVG for the new period 2014 – 2020[18]  The FVG region is also part of the Euroregion Adriatic, the macro-region Alpine Space and (Adriatic-Ionic), and of the CRPM (Conference of the Peripherical Maritmic Regions)

These are not the only two efforts to establish some form of Euroregion in which all or some of the three territories of the region are involved; others include for example the potential Adria-Alpe-Pannonia[19] region, CONSPACE[20] region and the established Adriatic Euroregion[21].

The FVG Region is responsible for:

  • Managing Authority of the POR FESR 2007/2013
  • Managing Authority of Interreg Italy-Slovenia Program 2007/2013
  • Regional Coordination Office of the Interreg IV Italy-Austria 2007/2013[22]
  • Sloveniahas responsibility for the:
  • Managing Authority of Interreg Slovenia-Austria Program 2007/2013

There are a number of other players such as NGO’s, Euro-Instituts, non-profit associations etc. which are active in cross-border cooperation throughout the region.

See for example in:

  • Informest in FVG: agency for development and international economic cooperation- one of the four national agencies for cooperation in the area ofSoutheast Europe(L. 84/01)
  • There is an Alps Adriatic Association Chambers of Commerce
  • AICREE fvg (Association of theEuropeanMunicipalitiesand Regions)
  • Sanicademia (FVG): International Accademy for the training of health profession.

Cross border project funding characteristics

  • bi-/ or tri-national funding or  l
  • largely EU territorial co-operation funds

From a European funding perspective, there have been a number of programmes funding cross border cooperation in the area, albeit no one programme funding projects specifically on a trilateral basis for the Alps-Adriatic region. This is also true of Interreg (now referred to as Operational Programme). Interreg programmes are run on an Italy-Austria, Italy-Slovenia and Slovenia-Austria basis. Lack of common funding or a set of common priorities for the programme area encompassing all three territories poses significant difficulties in terms of organising projects on a trilateral basis. Discussions on remedying this situation have taken place, but concrete solutions have not yet materialised.

SEE, Alpine Space, CE, IPA-Adriatic

 Thematic focus

  • integrated and potential orientated cross border intervention approach or
  • selective problem-oriented cross border intervention (particular branches e.g. education and health, community work, transport sector, university co-operation, cultural sector etc.)

Education,Tourism, Energy, Environment

Major Projects in the cross border region

  •  INTERREG III B CADSES “ MATRIOSCA – Management Tools, effective Relations for new Interregional Organisation aimed at Strengthening the Cooperation among Adria Area regions” (2005-2007). Involved 15 Partner (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Slovenia, Carinzia, Stiria, Burgenland, Zala, Baranya, Györ – Moson – Sopron, Vas, Tolna, Somogy, Istria, Koprivnica, Vojvodina, Varaždin)
  •  Sanicademia: Cross-border and trans-regional training in the heath sector – Cross-border education for health professionals (FVG, Carinthia, Veneto) [i]
  •  Interreg IV – Italy-Austria “ESCO” Without borders training: cross-border system for common curricula in Austria, Slovenia, Italy(FVG, Carinthia)[ii]

For all the other Interreg projects:

Current challenges for cooperation

  • Lack of trilateral funding
  • Complex funding system
  • Differences in legislation
  • Changing rules of business
  • Political situation
  • Missing assistance  - local, regional or national level

These represent the specific areas which need to be improved in order to facilitate and help foster future cross-border activities in the region.

Future cross border cooperation

  • Simplification and streamlining of bureaucracy and administrative procedures;
  • Removal of administrative barriers and amendment legislation
  • Simplifying the funding system and allowing for increased funding opportunities.
  • Establishment of service structures and expert pools
  • Harmonization of public administration, the tax system and legislationA coordinated and jointly run information centre for cross-border cooperation in the Alps-Adriatic region – a sort of one-stop-shop for cross border activities coordinating all the separate efforts currently in place.
  • Greater involvement of organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce, Chambers of Economy, Ministries, Local Governments and public administration related organizations which deal with cross-border cooperation, need to be incorporated into the cross-border cooperation network, bringing new experiences, knowledge and ideas for future potentials in the Alps-Adriatic region.

In the strategic priorities document as updated in August 2011 by the Region FVG, the main sectors which will be “priority” in the next programming period in particular with reference to the EGTC withCarinthia,Veneto(andSlovenia) are:

  • infrastructures, transport, logistic
  • environment, and hydrographical areas
  • research
  • agro-alimentary
  • turism
  • health and socio-assistance systems
  • security

It is also important to highlight the interest of the FVG Regional Government in supporting and taking part to the development of the Euro Region Adriatic and the Macro-regions (Alpine Space, Adriatic-Ionic).

Referring to the new European Programming Period focused on the 2020 European Strategy, the Region FVG has decided to continue to invest in the “competitiveness and work” priority but  to give particular attention to one of the 5 vulnerabilty elements pointed out by the European Commission (Climate change, Energy, Globalization, Demographic Change, multi-challenges): vulnerability to globalisation. This means the Regional Government will invest on reinforcing the cooperation at European level in order to avoid growth based solely on local development with the risk of marginalizing the region in a globalized contest.

Based on this strategy the Region FVG is working to take active part as a “protagonist” to the 7 “initiatives Faro” promoted by the European Commission for achieve the  European Strategy 2020.[23]


[1] Eurostat tgs00002

[2] Eurostat tgs00001 (figures for 2008)

[3] Eurostat tgs00006

[4] Source: Benchmarking Report for the Villa Manin Euroregion 2009, p.29.

[5] Benchmarking Report for the Villa Manin Euroregion 2009, p.30.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Co-operation of Regions for Innovation, Economic and R&D competencies in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Slovenia, West Transdanubia, Carinthia, Styria and Burgenland, pp. 6-8

[8] Ibid.

[9] PPS per inhabitant in % of the EU-27 average, EU = 100, by NUTS 2 region

[10] Source: Eurostat tgs00006

[11] Source: Eurostat tgs00010

[12]  H. Valentin speech 1998.

[13] This was later extended to incorporateCroatia and was renamed quadrigon.

[14] See Institutional models of cross border cooperation and governance in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Background Report


[16] During the period 1981 to 1988 a series of further territorial units joined including for example: the Swiss Kanton Tessin and fromHungary the Komitate Györ-Moson-Sopron, Vas, Zala, Somogy and Baranya. See: …

[18] Indirizzi in materia di politiche internazionali e comunitarie della Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia – Direzione Centrale Cultura, sport, relazioni internazionali e comunitarie, Agosto

[19] See the Interreg funded Matriosca project. The Euroregion Adria-Alpe-Pannonia includes all three territories plus a number of further regions inAustria,Italy,Croatia,Hungary andSerbia.

[20] Common Network for Spatial Planning and Implementation: An Interreg IIIB Cadses funded project incorporating the Alps-Adriatic region andCroatia, parts ofHungary, andVeneto.

[21] The Adriatic Euroregion, of which Friuli-Venezia Giulia is a member, was founded as a non-profit association of units of territorial self-governments and of national and international institutions in 2006 and provides an institutional framework for cooperation between regions of the Adriatic Coastline.

[22] Indirizzi in materia di politiche internazionali e comunitarie della Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia – Direzione Centrale Cultura, sport, relazioni internazionali e comunitarie, Agosto 2011.

[23] Cyclorama, Provincia autonoma di Bolzano-Alto Adige, Interreg IV, ottobre 2011