Interview with Annie Genevard, Vice-President of the Assemblée Nationale and MP for the Doubs DepartmentOctober 2020
Focus on mountain territories, a topic on the agenda of Round table #8 "Metropolises, mountains, rural areas: what kind of cross-border cohesion?" of the Borders Forum, on 10 november.
Mountain areas benefit from dedicated public policies on account of their specificity. To what extent does the cross-border dimension present additional complexity?
Border territories give rise to a particular kind of economy and territorial organisation, with big variations between mountain ranges. Border areas must be considered in their multiplicity. Among the issues specific to mountain areas, we should first mention the issue of mobility and daily traffic jams, as the infrastructures there are inadequate. Mountains are natural borders, which also limits movement as some passes are difficult to cross. It is important to develop rail transport and to expand the provision of public transport.
The border is also a line of cooperation. There have always been movements of cross-border workers, to varying degrees from period to period, depending on the interplay of often contradictory factors: wage levels, social security insurance systems and availability of transport. The cross-border setting points up a series of recurrent problems: emigration of cross-border workers, disparities in rates of growth and difficulties regarding compatibility with national spatial planning policy objectives. It is also a positive force and an engine of development for the area, and sometimes the whole region.
What has been the experience of these territories since the onset of the health crisis?
The health crisis has put pressure on everyday issues such as cooperation and the restrictions that affect the organisation of local life. In the Pyrenees, queues were reserved for healthcare professionals. Switzerland received patients requiring resuscitation and contact is being maintained in case of a second wave. There have also been difficulties. For example, the lack of consistency in health protection policies both at country and regional level.
You chair the National Association of Elected Representatives from Mountain Areas as well as the cross-border group of France’s National Mountain Council. What do you expect from technical engineering structures like the MOT?
It has emerged from our work that there is a need for reflection in the following areas: mobility, energy (for example, wind farms with differing regulations between countries), harmonising standards, water, forests, healthcare, training (with the so-called “talent drain”), immigration (notably dealing with unaccompanied minors), and disparities with regard to tax.
Join us for RT#8 to hear Annie Genevard's contribution. More info
Photo: The Joux Valley on the Franco-Swiss border
Copyright: Vallée de Joux, tourisme.