A functioning network of partner regions is indispensable for promoting the interests of the Tyrol in Europe. The Tyrol has accordingly built up contacts with other regions over the years and plays an active role in the work of the large organisations of the European regions.
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is an umbrella organisation of the regions of Europe based in Strasbourg with about 300 member regions from Western, Central and Eastern Europe. The primary aim of the AER, apart from promoting regionalism and federalism, is to achieve strong institutional integration of the regions within the European institutions.
The main objective of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) is to address the specific problems of border regions. Even if the Single European market and the Schengen Agreement have abolished national borders in Europe, border regions are still disadvantaged in terms of the everyday problems of living and working in a cross-border context.
Successful initiatives have been taken to promote cross-border cooperation in the Tyrolean border areas with Bavaria, South Tyrol and Grisons. To a large extent they are supported by local authorities and interest groups. These initiatives relate a wide variety of topics ranging from business, technology transfer and traffic, to tourism, the environment, culture and sport.
74 regions in eight of the 27 EU member states have legislative powers. These "strong" regions have joined REGLEG - regions with legislative power - to work in both the member states and the European Union to create more opportunities to shape policy and secure their rights.
At the initiative of the Tyrol, recent years have seen the development of efficient co-operation amongst the members of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) in those countries of the Alps that have joined together to form the Interregional Alpine Group. This interest group meets regularly before the plenary sessions of the CoR to agree on common approaches in areas involving the specific interests of mountain areas.
The Brenner Railway Action Committee developed out of an Alpine joint venture and unites the governments and chambers of commerce of the countries and provinces along the Brenner axis, i.e. Bavaria, the Tyrol, South Tyrol, Trentino and Verona. The action committee works to coordinate and represent members’ common interests in upgrading the current Brenner railway and creating a new rail link between Munich and Verona with the Brenner Base Tunnel as its centre-piece. The focus is on lobbying for this project in the framework of the EU Trans-European priority networks.
The Tyrol is a member of the European Network of GMO-free Regions. The objectives of the network, which comprises regions from all member countries of the EU and beyond, are to maintain agriculture without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), protect biodiversity, and monitor and promote responsibility in the use of genetic engineering.
As neighbouring regional entities, Bavaria, the Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Salzburg and Upper Austria hold annual meetings at head of government level. The meetings serve to agree on common positions on European policy to be represented in the respective capitals and in Brussels.
The Tyrol also has several bilateral arrangements, with regions further away as well, which relate to projects and cooperation in fields of education, culture, youth exchange and other common issues.
Development cooperation in the Tyrol is centred on projects which have a special link to the Tyrol and projects in which Tyroleans have been or are being employed as development workers.
The Tyrol and eighty Tyrolean local authorities have officially met with the indigenous people of the rain forests in the framework of the Climate Alliance established to protect the earth's atmosphere.
Numerous partnerships have been established between local authorities in the Tyrol and their counterparts in Europe and overseas in support of a people-related style of contact between regions.