Author: Blanca Casares (AEIDL)
Rural areas in the EU are a fundamental part of the European way of life. They represent almost 30% of its population and more than 80% of its territory. To ensure that rural areas can continue to play these essential roles, a European Commission communication sets out a long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas (LTVRA) up to 2040. It identifies areas of action towards stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas and communities.
By the end of 2021, the Commission launched the Rural Pact to examine the path towards achieving the goals of the Vision. The new pact aims to mobilise public authorities and stakeholders to act on the needs and aspirations of rural communities.
On 15 and 16 June 2022, took place in Brussels the Rural Pact conference, which was organised by the Commission in partnership with the European Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Parliament, the Presidency of the European Council and the European Rural Parliament. It brought together EU, national, and regional politicians along with local authorities, social and economic stakeholders to reflect on the rural vision’s ambition and its bottom-up character. It engaged participants in designing the governance of the Rural Pact and gather commitments for the achievement of the Vision.
The accompanying EU Rural Action Plan (RAP) 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 EU Rural Action Plan is articulated around the four goals (stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas and communities) and a series of flagship initiatives.