Moving forward the long term vision for rural areas

Mar 23, 2022

MOVING project coordinator participates as an expert in the public hearing of the European Parliament (EP) on the future of rural areas

In June 2021, the European Commission (EC) published its Communication on a long-term vision for rural areas (LTVRA). The aim of this process and document is to make rural areas and communities “stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous” by 2040.

In order to ensure continued progress in the definition of the Rural Vision, the Committees on Regional Development (REGI) and on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) of the European Parliament organised a public hearing. It was held on 16 March 2022, and 4 experts from different areas were invited, among which Mar Delgado, MOVING project coordinator, stands out.

As an expert in European rural development policies, she shared some ideas on how to approach the implementation of this Vision. Mar Delgado stressed that rural areas must be recognised for their key role in the provision of goods and services (food, transport, carbon fixation, landscape, etc.) and thus, be intrinsically interconnected with cities and not subordinated to them. She also highlighted the need for commitment from all citizens (rural and urban) and for the development of cross-cutting strategies that are not linked only to organisations related to rural areas.

Due to the heterogeneity of these remote zones, she proposed to design contextualised initiatives that go beyond public funding and support, allowing private actors and initiatives to also be part of the game.

Questions and proposals

The president of the European LEADER Association, Marion Eckardt, and Michael Fischer, representative of the Austrian Rural Network, participated too, sharing insights on how local action groups (LAGs) are essential to build bridges between different policies.

The Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, pointed out that many European policies do not have a more territorial approach that contemplates rural areas and the negative effects that there are on them. The Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, presented future plans, among others the conference on the Rural Pact which will take place in Brussels this year, on June 15 and 16.

The parliamentarians’ questions have been directed, for the most part, to knowing the specific strategies to attract and keep youth in rural areas and how to translate the Rural Vision at the different political levels. They have also made proposals, such as the reduction of bureaucracy –which leaves out small entities– or that all strategies should be made from rural communities.

Mar Delgado’s presentation is available here and the recording of the public hearing, here.