The Southern Sparsely Populated Areas network (SSPA) was born from the union of the Confederation of Businessmen of Teruel (CEOE Teruel), the Federation of Business Organizations of Soria (FOES) and the Confederation of Entrepreneurs of Cuenca (CEOE-CEPYME Cuenca).
On November 8th of 2016, an agreement was signed with the purpose of establishing a working group to combat depopulation and its consequences in these three Spanish provinces, which have the lowest population rates in Spain: less than 12 inhabitants per square kilometer.
To this end, the Southern European Sparsely Populated Areas network (SSPA) will work towards legislative and policy measures aimed at reversing the process of depopulation, against aging, demographic and economic fragility that threatens these territories.
The three business organizations set themselves the objective of achieving a different European policy for these sparsely populated regions by 2020.
Model to follow
The Southern European Sparsely Populated Areas network (SSPA) focuses on the work that has been developed in the northern regions of Sweden and Finland and especially in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. In this case, with a focus and appropriate practices, they have managed to reverse a long process of depopulation and economic abandonment, increasing population, rejuvenating it and becoming one of the most innovative and dynamic regions of the European Union.
The Confederations of Entrepreneurs of Teruel, Soria and Cuenca have been constituted as a European lobby (inscribed in the transparency register of the European Union), against depopulation, a problem that also affects other territories of Europe as in some regions of Croatia and Greece, besides the Nordic countries.
These depopulated regions of the south had been acknowledged only partially by the European Union until the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. SSPA network is seeking to ensure that the EU and the Member States take account of this situation and allocate the appropriate budget for the next programming period of European funds, starting in 2020.