Mountain areas cover a significant proportion of the European continent. Within the European Union (EU), many of the newest Member States have particularly high proportions of mountainous land. Ongoing debates in the EU relate to perceptions of mountains as being “handicapped” or marginalized versus having specific development opportunities, and to the challenges of climate change and other global changes. In 2015 and 2016, these issues have been highlighted by the European Parliament and through the publication of a strategic research agenda by the Swiss–Austrian Alliance.
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