Context in Switzerland
Switzerland has been part of the Alpine Space Programme since the beginning, more than ten years ago. Dozens of Swiss partners have been involved in dozens of different projects, contributing not only to a better transnational cooperation in the Alps, but also to a sustainable development of Switzerland. The fact that Switzerland is not member of the European Union leads to some specificities, but it is important to stress that Swiss federal, regional or local administrations, research institutions or associations can contribute contentwise in the same way as other project partners: they can be full project partners and, as such, lead work packages or even whole projects.
Policy framework and legal context
In Switzerland, the European Territorial Cooperation programmes are part of the New Regional Policy (NRP). This policy, set up in 2008, aims at strenghtening a regions' competitiveness and creating and maintaining jobs. It therefore contributes indirectly to evening out regional disparities and maintaining the decentralised settlement structures. It covers not only the ten cross-border, transnational and interregional programmes in which Switzerland is participating, but also the classical regional policy implemented by the cantons. NRP projects are expected to contribute to the regions’ competitiveness. Other projects can be supported if they are part of a national strategy. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is responsible for the implementation of the whole NRP, while the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) is more specifically responsible for the Swiss participation in the Alpine Space Programme.
The main difference between Swiss and EU project partners concerns funding. While projects partners from EU members states are getting funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the funding of Swiss partners has to be set up in Switzerland. More information on funding in Switzerland is available on a dedicated page.
The other difference is that Swiss partners may not be full lead partners. They can lead projects contentwise, but have to work with an European Lead Partner in charge of the administration of the financial part of the project, called "ERDF Lead Partner".
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