The SSPA network considers that in 2018 depopulation has definitely been a priority

The SSPA network considers that in 2018 depopulation has definitely been a priority

For the Southern Sparsely Populated Areas network (SSPA) “In this year, the fight against depopulation has been strengthened as a main issue on the agendas of the Government of Spain and the European Union”  assured Sara Bianchi, the coordinator of this network. SSPA brings together the most sparsely populated territories of the south of the EU (Cuenca, Teruel and Soria in Spain, Euritania in Greece and Licka-Senj in Croatia).

“This great problem was not faced util now, there were no concrete data on the inequality of the rural environment lives. There was not an analysis of the situation, and no measures to solve this problem” added Bianchi.

The SSPA network works to move forward with firm step and influencing the different administrations to stop ignoring this great problem in Europe. SSPA has analyzed through studies developed the current situation, and has raised a specific strategy based on a model that has been successful in other depopulated areas such as the Scottish Highland and Islands. “We are now looking at where we need to go, creating an effective strategy, implementing fiscal measures, prioritizing that quality Internet access reaches all rural areas, as well as the importance of creating infrastructures and communication channels that provide competitiveness. to companies in rural areas to create employment. In short: stop talking about empty areas and see the depopulation and rural areas as opportunities, focusing the problem on demanding equal opportunities that allow development and future for the people, “says Bianchi.

The approaches of the SSPA network have been transmitted in the European Union to look for allies and to make the Institutions aware that this great problem can not be ignored with great pressure, adding support and with the allegations presented to modify the financial framework, that they made available to the whole society to facilitate that other entities could present them.

“Work remains: the year 2019 is going to be decisive. In this year Europe will set the policy and aid framework and its national strategy against the demographic challenge. SSPA has a work program aimed at ensuring that this priority materializes in effective resources and measures, which reverse this scourge as has already been achieved in other territories and as must be done here” concludes Bianchi.

– SSPA network closes an intense first year of actions to achieve an effective policy that reverses the demographic decline in Cuenca, Soria and Teruel

– SSPA network closes an intense first year of actions to achieve an effective policy that reverses the demographic decline in Cuenca, Soria and Teruel

Knowing the success model against depopulation in Scotland and transfering it to the institutions and entities involved, participating in fairs, congresses and conferences as well as negotiating with Spanish and European government representatives have been some of the more than 40 activities that the Southern Sparsely Populated Areas network have carried out in 2017.

All efforts are focused on achieving a diversified rural development that guarantees the premises defined by the SSPA network.

The SSPA network celebrates its first year of life with the firm commitment to continue working to achieve legislative and policy measures aimed at reversing the process of depopulation, aging and demographic and economic fragility that threatens provinces of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel.

A 2017 full of activities and actions is closed. Both in the national territory and in the European territory progresses are being made in the fight against depopulation to make it a priority in regional policies of the European Union.

The alliance of the most forgotten territories of the European Union through the SSPA network has managed to get its voice and needs to the current debate of the European institutions on the regional community policy that will be after 2020.

Since its creation, on November 8, 2016 in Cuenca, with the signature of the three businesse associations of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, the SSPA has developed almost fifty events and meetings.

An intense year of work whose milestones can be summarized in the following. During 2017 the trip to Scotland was carried out to verify in situ the successful model against the depopulation of the Highlands and Islands and meetings were held to make it known in the institutions and entities involved in territorial development. In addition, the SSPA network has participated in fairs, events and conferences presenting its project (II National Congress of Depopulation, Presura Fair, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces forums, European Week of Regions and Cities, etc). Important meetings have also been held with the representatives of the Spanish Government, such as the Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, the Secretary of State for Territorial Administrations, Roberto Bermúdez de Castro, the Government Commissioner for the Demographic Challenge, Edelmira Barreira, or the Director General of European Funds and the General Director of Rural Development and Forest Policy, as well as with European representatives from other countries, the European Commission and the European Parliament.

Finally, in this 2017 the economic support of Caja Rural de Soria, Caja Rural de Teruel and Globalcaja of Castilla La Mancha was also achieved, showing their commitment with territories.

In the words of the coordinator of the SSPA, Sara Bianchi, “this year we have made great progress creating Spanish and European contacts, as well as looking for ways to act in our provinces. We have a decisive year ahead for the problem of the most unpopulated areas of southern Europe to make it a priority and to be taken into consideration in the negotiations in the European Union. ”

The SSPA faces the new year focusing all efforts on achieving a diversified rural development that guarantees seven premises: infrastructures and basic equipment; housing; essential educational, health and social services; connectivity; appropriate regulations and taxation; entrepreneurship and job opportunities and, finally, training and talent attraction. 2018 is the decisive year to ensure that, finally, the depopulation and a new model of successful economic and demographic development for the provinces of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel becomes a reality.

– Cajas Rurales (Rural Savings Banks) of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel support the SSPA network to develop actions against depopulation

– Cajas Rurales (Rural Savings Banks) of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel support the SSPA network to develop actions against depopulation

The collaboration agreement has been signed in Soria by the people in charge of the Network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas to continue the work and the efforts to achieve development in rural areas, in order to reverse the process of depopulation, aging and demographic and economic fragility of these provinces.

SSPA has signed on Monday, September 11, a collaboration agreement between the three business associations that make it up (Confederation of Entrepreneurs of Cuenca-CEOE CEPYME Cuenca, the Federation of Sorian Business Organizations -FOES and the Business Confederation of Teruel-CEOE Teruel) and the three Rural Savings Banks of these Spanish provinces: Globalcaja (Caja Rural de Albacete, Ciudad Real and Cuenca) Caja Rural of Soria and Caja Rural of Teruel.

For his part, the President of CEPYME Cuenca, David Peña, wanted to highlight the existing alliance with the rural savings banks of these three provinces “because they are essential to cover some of the work we are doing to raise European funds”. He explained that “we hope the funds serve to create or attract companies that generate more entrepreneurial dynamics and more activity in the rural financial institutions, which have always been collaborators of entrepreneurs in rural areas.”

The signing ceremony was attended by Carlos Torre, President of Teruel CEOE, who has described this collaboration agreement as “fundamental to be able to continue developing actions with the aim of reversing the process of economic and demographic decline that inevitably extends to Teruel, Cuenca and Soria, the most extremely depopulated areas of Southern Europe”.

At the signing ceremony, it also participated Santiago Aparicio, president of FOES. He wanted to point out that “today is an important day for the work that we are developing from the SSPA”. “The support of the Rural Savings Banks is again an impulse to continue working towards the goal of reversing the depopulation problem of the three provinces, as they have been able to do in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, a benchmark for adaptable success to Soria, Cuenca and Teruel.

The team of SSPA has been working against depopulation with different meetings that have led it to expose the seriousness of this context before the main European and national authorities responsible for the matter, claiming not so much a greater allocation of funds as these are applied in full to those activities that have proven their viability. The actions carried out and to be carried out by these business organizations require a deep involvement and an important provision of resources, both technical and human, thanks to this agreement they will be able to continue carrying out actions to work on the repopulation of these areas, and the provinces of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel will be visualized as a solution to the problems that affect the least densely populated territories.

For Rural Savings Banks, this agreement is a sign of responsibility with the environment and with the citizens of their respective provinces, as the aim is to promote economic activity and the development of their territories.

A year has passed since the signing of the first agreement and the objectives that were marked in it have been fulfilled in their entirety, such as, for example, the creation of the Network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas (SSPA) and the registration of the same as a lobby in Europe.

The SSPA will continue to take steps and will continue to develop actions to ensure that European territorial cohesion policy and Member States establish instruments and development methods that are effective and successful in the most depopulated and fragile rural areas.

The problem of depopulation is not new, nor it is exclusive to these three Spanish provinces, but the greater severity and need to take urgent measures for Teruel, Soria and Cuenca is well recognized in different documents, including the GEOSPECS report emanated from a request from the European Commission itself; the Association Agreement between Spain and the European Union 2014-2020; the Operational Program of the FEDER of Aragón 2014-2020 and the agreements and pronouncements of institutions such as the Congress of Deputies, the Senate of Spain, the parliaments of Aragón, Castilla y León and Castilla-la Mancha or the Provincial Councils of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel.

The entrepreneurs of Teruel, Cuenca and Soria constitute a European advocacy network to fight against depopulation

The entrepreneurs of Teruel, Cuenca and Soria constitute a European advocacy network to fight against depopulation

CEOE Teruel, Federation of Business Organizations OF Soria and CEOE CEPYME Cuenca have signed a collaboration agreement to establish a Network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas (SSPA), which will work to achieve legislative and political measures aimed at reversing the process of depopulation, aging and demographic and economic fragility that threaten these territories.

Design and implement measures in collaboration with other actors of civil society and public authorities to deal efficiently with problems such as low population density, aging or inefficient existing structure to settle new inhabitants as well as serious economic, social and environmental consequences of this situation, which are on the way to becoming irreversible. This is the main objective of the agreement signed today by the three employers in Teruel, Soria and Cuenca, whose provinces that share the difficulties mentioned.

The collaboration agreement signed by Carlos Torre, president of the Business Confederation of Teruel (CEOE Teruel); Santiago Aparicio, president of the Federation of Business Organizations of Soria (FOES) and Abraham Sarrión, president of the Confederation of Entrepreneurs of Cuenca (CEOE CEPYME Cuenca) and the presence of Antonio Garamendi, President of CEPYME and vice-president of CEOE, The establishment of a Southern Sparsely Populated Areas network (SSPA), is similar to other long-standing organizations in the countries of northern Europe. Among other things, it will serve to ensure that all the signatory entities and others that may accede to it later formulate and promote measures to reverse these trends and, in short, fight depopulation with effective instruments and with the public authorities of the State, European Union, its Member States and the organizations that make up the community.

The three business organizations have set up a working group, which is part of the European Union transparency register, which will define the actions of common interest to be developed by the SSPA and coordinate its implementation. This SSPA is a network whose aim is to achieve a different European policy in 2020 for these sparsely populated regions. This SSPA is limited to these three Spanish provinces because they are the only ones in Spain that recognize the official statistics of the European Union with the consideration of sparsely populated areas.

In the opinion of Carlos Torre “This signature culminates three years of work and now begins a new period in which we want to add to the SSPA other European regions that share our problems of depopulation and try to allocate new European funds to combat them. This Thursday we met with Commissioner Corina Cretu and the Government of Aragon to convey the need for specific policies to stop this demographic decline that we suffer. For his part, Abraham Sarrión recalled that “It is time to implement measures against depopulation that are already operating in other regions of Europe, as in Scotland or Lapland, relying on local communities and collaborating with all the administrations involved.” In the words of Santiago Aparicio, “Today we are taking an important qualitative step towards the implementation of specific policies for these sparsely populated areas. Something had to have been done by the politicians of this country, but we had to do it, without being our competence, to achieve the economic development of our provinces. ” To finish Antonio Garamendi has affirmed “All the Spanish entrepreneurs are part of this project and we want other organizations also to join, because this battle is everyone’s. These provinces need infrastructures and policies that facilitate the installation of companies and SMEs can compete.

Prior to the signing of this agreement they have already been collaborating against depopulation with actions that have led them to expose the seriousness of this context to the main European leaders competent in the matter, claiming not so much a greater allocation of funds as these will be applied in full to regions and activities capable of reversing the process of economic and demographic decline that extends through Teruel, Soria and Cuenca, but also in many other European territories.

The model to be followed is the one that has been implemented in the regions of northern Sweden and Finland and especially in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, where, with a focus and good practices, they have managed to invest a long process of depopulation and economic abandonment, increasing the population, rejuvenating it and becoming one of the most innovative and dynamic regions of the European Union.

The business organizations of Teruel, Soria and Cuenca have already moved their approaches, the inefficiency of the specific funds currently available for these territories and the collaboration agreement they have signed to the Government of Aragon, which shares the concern for depopulation and that also works on a plan to combat it. With their mediation, they also hope to be able to transfer their concerns, as they have done on previous occasions, to the European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu, who will soon visit Aragon.

The problem of depopulation is neither new nor exclusive to these three Spanish provinces, but the greater gravity and necessity of taking urgent measures for Teruel, Soria and Cuenca is well recognized in different documents, including the GEOSPECS report Emanates from a request of the European Commission itself; The Association Agreement between Spain and the European Union 2014-2020; The Operational Program of the ERDF of Aragon 2014-2020 and the agreements and pronouncements of institutions such as the Congress of Deputies, the Senate of Spain, the parliaments of Aragon, Castile and Leon and Castilla la Mancha or the Provincial Councils of Teruel, Soria And Cuenca.

The event held in Cuenca is a new milestone, since it constitutes the official act of establishing a European lobby – the members of the SSPA network have already initiated contacts with representatives of entities from other Member States – specific against depopulation that affects other Regions of Europe other than the Nordic ones. These depopulated regions of the south had hardly been acknowledged by the European Union until the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, so the SSPA network will seek to ensure that the EU and the Member States take account of this situation. Circumstances and allocate the appropriate budget for the next programming period of European funds to start in 2021.