The long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas: key achievements and ways forward

Apr 1, 2024

Author: Carla Lostrangio (AEIDL)

On March 27, 2024, the European Commission unveiled its report stocktaking on the EU’s Long-term Vision for Rural Areas. This report,  marks a significant milestone as serves as a compass for the Commission, and in particular DG AGRI, guiding discussions toward shaping policies for the post-2027 programming period.

Divided into three pivotal chapters, the report unfolds with a detailed overview of new indicators and the latest data pertaining to rural areas. It then delves into a retrospective analysis of the 30-month journey of implementing the rural vision, synthesizing insights gleaned from the stocktaking exercise conducted previously. The subsequent chapter outlines prospective pathways for the EU rural action plan and the rural pact, presenting an array of ideas and questions sourced from various EU institutions and stakeholders.

A stocktake on rural data and rural proofing

As the report points out, rural areas – including areas facing natural constraints – are crucial to maintain agriculture, including in remote areas, preserving jobs, slowing down land abandonment and depopulation. The report highlights the importance of the farming sector for rural areas, as well as of social economy and other leading economic activities which make living in these areas economically viable. This is of utmost importance for MOVING whose aim is to upgrade mountain value chains. The report also announces that the Commission will continue to work on geographical indications (GIs), and a new regulation on GIs for agricultural products will be issued in spring 2024. 

What is this report relevant?

As the EU gears up for the post-2027 programming period, this report sets the stage for informed discourse and strategic planning, paving the way for a future where rural communities thrive amidst evolving landscapes. With the European elections on the horizon in June 2024, the opportunities for dialogue and collaboration are ripe, promising a collective endeavors towards realizing the Long-Term Vision for the EU’s rural areas.

On April 12 the European Commission will also table the 9th Cohesion Report which will set out (DG REGIO and DG EMPL) first outline of the future of EU Cohesion Policy. All this will constitute a significant in-tray for the new Commission priorities which will be unveiled in July and more in detail in September and October, with post 2027 legislation tabled in Spring 2025.