Long-term vision for rural areas: for stronger, connected, resilient, prosperous EU rural areas
On Friday 2nd of June, the European Commission has put forward a long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas, identifying the challenges and concerns that they are facing, as well as highlighting some of the most promising opportunities that are available to these regions.
A Rural Pact will mobilise public authorities, and stakeholders to act on the needs and aspirations of rural residents. The accompanying EU Rural Action Plan will foster territorial cohesion and create new opportunities to attract innovative businesses, provide access to quality jobs, promote new and improved skills, ensure better infrastructure and services, and leverage the role of sustainable agriculture and diversified economic activities.
The contents of this pact will revolve around the following topics:
♦ Trends and challenges in EU’s rural areas today: essential services and related infrastructure – such as water, sanitation, energy.. are key to guaranteeing social and economic inclusion + climate change and environmental degradation
♦ Opportunities in rural areas: When well-managed, rural landscapes covered by forests and natural areas help regulate water flows, prevent soil erosion and provide ecosystem services. The green transition will require the development of partnerships in all economic activities in rural areas, between businesses of all sectors, local authorities, researchers and services based on innovation, knowledge sharing and cooperation, including within smart specialisation processes.
♦ A vision for rural areas toward 2040: 4 areas of action, supported by flagship initiatives: Stronger rural areas: focus on empowering rural communities, improving access to services and facilitating social innovation. Connected rural areas: to improve connectivity both in terms of transport and digital access; Digital technologies & resource optimisation.
♦ Resilient rural areas: preserving natural resources and greening farming activities (taking into account its impact on waters) to counter climate change while also ensuring social resilience through offering access to training courses and diverse quality job opportunities;
♦ Flagship initiatives: climate action in peatland through carbon farming (restoration, rewetting and conservation of wetlands and peatlands), the proposed EU mission on soil health and food.
♦ Prosperous rural areas: to diversify economic activities and improve the value-added of farming and agri-food activities and agri-tourism.
Find out more here.