Brussels does not include a specific fund to combat depopulation in its proposal for European regional policy for the period 2021-2027. However, the proposed regulatory framework remains open for negotiation within each country.
The European Commission proposal has ignored the demographic challenge facing the European Union, especially as it affects sparsely populated areas with serious and permanent demographic disadvantages.
However, the Network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas trusts that the State will explicitly ask in the negotiations that have just been opened in the EU to introduce diversified economic and social development as a common transversal objective in the European Union budget for sparsely populated rural areas that suffer from serious and permanent demographic disadvantages.
To achieve this goal, the SSPA network has requested a meeting with the new President of the Government to demand that the Spanish Government be involved in this problem that affects the majority of Spanish rural territory. In addition to asking the new government to demand explicitly in the negotiations the fight against depopulation in policies, another factor to be debated will be the criterion of low population density. Factor to take into account when allocating additional funds to each country.
For this reason, the network will demand that the money, obtained through this criterion, be devoted entirely to combating depopulation and the negative effects of low population density in the territories of the interior of Spain where this situation occurs.
In the European proposal, there are reflected budgets for policies aimed at favoring the green economy and connectivity, the strengthening of local development agents and strategies or those policies that are committed to innovation, so these issues can represent a large opportunity for the southern sparsely populated provinces if both the State and the respective autonomous communities are involved, developing operational programs for the application of funds that give clear priority to achieving results in these depopulated areas, establishing each autonomous community strategies that follow the success stories of the Scottish case. The SSPA network will continue to fight, both at European and national level, to implement policies that help alleviate the demographic challenge of the Sparsely Populated Areas of Southern Europe, strengthening its support base to achieve greater public visibility.