The Provincial Councils of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel collaborate with the CEOEs of the three provinces against depopulation

The presidents of the provincial councils and business organizations of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel have signed a collaboration agreement at a key moment for the future of the three provinces

Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, June 15, 2021. The Provincial Councils of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel have signed an agreement with CEOE CEPYME Cuenca, FOES and CEOE Teruel by which the provincial administrations support the different works that the provincial organizations have been carrying out in the framework of the European lobby of the SSPA Network to fight against depopulation.

Since 2014, the CEOEs have been working proactively at a national and European level in order to promote measures that help tackle the main structural challenges that affect sparsely populated areas of Spain. The results of this work are beginning to be visible, such as the possibility that has been opened, thanks to the joint work of the three CEOEs and the Autonomous Governments, to obtain state aid for the operation of the companies of the three provinces. But it is necessary to continue advancing in the realization of achievements in the face of depopulation.

Along these lines, this significant agreement implies that business organizations and Provincial Councils from different regions unite their efforts and approaches in order to defend the differential elements of the three provinces, as sparsely populated areas, at a decisive moment to achieve the goals set.

The agreement was signed by the president of the Diputación de Cuenca, Álvaro Martínez Chana, the president of CEOE CEPYME Cuenca, David Peña, the president of CEOE Teruel, Juan Ciércoles, the president of the Diputación de Teruel, Manuel Rando, the president of FOES, Santiago Aparicio and the president of the Diputación de Soria, Benito Serrano.


The president of CEOE CEPYME Cuenca, David Peña, has indicated that “the problem of depopulation has affected the three provinces and therefore part of the solutions also have to come from the provinces themselves, which is why an agreement such as the that we captured this morning in Cuenca. I would like to point out that what we do at the CEOE to fight against depopulation and that the councils support, are not just demands, but rather it is about justifying more measures to support our territories with reports, works, studies and content that serve to achieve our goals.”

For his part, the president of the Cuenca Provincial Council, Álvaro Martínez Chana, has positively assessed that this agreement is made from the province of Cuenca with the aim of “fighting for our people from unity”, the Cuenca leader has stated that today begins a long road that others will continue, but which represents a victory, since “it gives visibility to the demographic challenge that is already on the European, national and regional agenda”. Martínez Chana ended his speech with a true declaration of intent stating that the fight must be from the bottom up and that “the time for words has passed, it is the time for action”.

The president of CEOE CEPYME Teruel Juan Andrés Ciércoles Bielsa has indicated that “we are closer to achieving what would be a historic event and undoubtedly beneficial for the three provinces, that is, getting them to receive State aid, but we still have a lot to do and the current moment is crucial, because the future of our provinces will depend on what we do today”.

For his part, the president of the Diputación de Teruel, Manuel Rando López, has pointed out that the SSPA Network “is proving to be very useful, especially after the good results of its work to recognize the right to have differentiated taxation”. For the president of the Teruel provincial institution, “having the help of professionals who are well versed in European legislation and how the decision-making processes that are taken from Brussels are extremely important for political action. We still have many challenges to face, the battle against depopulation is a long-distance race and the SSPA Network is a great ally. That is why this signature is important, always appealing to inter-institutional cooperation and public-private collaboration, which is how things work best”.

For his part, the president of FOES, Santiago Aparicio, pointed out that “the three provincial organizations are going to continue fighting for our companies and for the economic growth of Soria, Cuenca and Teruel and we are very sincerely grateful that in this long-term battle we can count on with the support and backing of our reference councils”.

For his part, the president of the Diputación de Soria, Benito Serrano, highlighted the importance of uniting the efforts of the three most depopulated provinces to complete the step taken in Europe to achieve differentiated taxation that materializes the National Government as soon as possible and finally benefits companies from Soria for their growth or new ones for their installation. “Private initiative must boost the economy, but always with the support of public authorities, which with means such as the one adapted by Europe, will allow provinces such as Soria to regain prominence and provide investment attractiveness.”

The SSPA network shares its work in the Rural Vision Week

The SSPA network shares its work in the Rural Vision Week

The Southern Sparsely Populated Areas network participated in the event organized by the European Network for Rural Development and the European Commission to address the needs of rural areas from a global perspective, betting on the digital endowment of rural areas so that it be competitive.

The SSPA network shared its work and knowledge within the Rural Vision Week: ‘Imagining the future of rural areas in Europe’ addressing different issues to turn rural areas into sustainable areas, indicating the convenience of betting on the digital endowment of the rural environment as an aspect to ensure a prosperous future.

In fact, for SSPA, technology is a basic pillar to ensure a prosperous future for sparsely populated and rural areas, socially and entrepreneurially, so that they are competitive at a global level, as well as from a vital point of view, since the provision of infrastructure technological represents a minimum service to which all people should have access.

The ‘Rural Vision Week: Imagining the future of Europe’s rural areas’ is an activity organized by the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) together with the European Commission. This event is made up of several presentations and talks with the aim of debating and drawing conclusions on how to build a long-term vision that favors the future of rural areas in Europe. During the week different talks and workshops are being held, where relevant entities and personalities such as the Commissioner for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Suica, as well as different entities and organizations of the territory participate.

On the other hand, the SSPA highlighted other priority elements that must accompany the deployment of digital infrastructure, that is, the importance of providing people in these areas with the necessary training to use the technological tools that the territory needs. In the words of the coordinator of the SSPA Network, Sara Bianchi “if we want to transform rural areas into vibrant areas, we cannot continue applying 20th century solutions, but we have to take advantage of the opportunities of the 21st century, only in this way we can ensure the future from sparsely populated and rural areas ”.

Intergroup RUMRA & Smart Villages

During the European week, the Intergroup on rural, mountainous and remote areas of the European Parliament (Rumra & Smart Villages), of which the SSPA Network is part, and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) influenced the concern that the areas rural areas may be left out of the European Union Recovery Plans. The Intergroup and CoR affirmed that the pandemic is serving to exacerbate many of the already existing problems in rural areas and highlight once again the vulnerability of these regions, especially in terms of digital capacity, quality and delivery of health services, education, access to broadband, specific needs of the population, resilience of supply chains and innovation skills.

These elements have been part of the discourse of the SSPA network during its intervention and constitute the basis of the entity’s work in recent months, in which it is working to include a specific proposal for the territories in the Recovery Plan.

The business organizations of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel bring to Brussels their vision on the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism

The business organizations of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel bring to Brussels their vision on the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism

Last week the European Council approved the Mechanism that regulates the destination of Recovery and Resilience funds. FOES, CEOE CEPYME Cuenca and CEOE Teruel wanted to take the opportunity to address this issue with representatives of the Parliament and the European Commission.

Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, February 19, 2021. The CEOEs of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, creators of the Network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas (SSPA) Network met with representatives of the Parliament and the European Commission at object of commenting on the progress of European policies and funds, and proposing tools capable of reversing the imbalance between the most unpopulated territories and the big cities.

The intense week of telematic meetings has included a meeting with the Spanish MEPs, Isabel Garcia, Mazaly Aguilar, Cristina Maestre and with the cabinets of the MEPs Susana Solís and Isabel Benjumea, and a videoconference with the person from the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, who deals with territorial development policy and state aid, Carole Mancel-Blanchard.

For the CEOEs of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, it is essential that these rounds of contacts serve so that, through community policies and European funds, responses are given to the needs of sparsely populated areas with serious and permanent demographic disadvantages. . For this reason, the Employers’ Confederations have made known to the representatives of the European institutions, who will have an important role in the different phases of approval and execution of the projects, their proposal regarding the Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘5 for rural’ , as a comprehensive project that can serve as an example for the rest of the unpopulated rural territories of both Spain and Europe.

In addition, the contacts have served to follow up on the previous meetings held with the European deputies in the last quarter of 2020, dealing with other fundamental issues for these areas such as progress in the approval of the regulations of European funds, especially the ERDF , and state aid, which could mean a reduction of 20% to Social Security for companies in these territories.

On the part of Carole Mancel-Blanchard, during the meeting it was highlighted how depopulation is one of the Commission’s priorities and therefore, the different steps taken, such as the future Financial Framework and the cohesion policy of 2021, were discussed -2027, in addition to those to come, which include the Strategy for the long-term vision of rural areas. The head of the Cohesion and Reform Cabinet has recognized the possibilities offered by rural areas to the problems caused by congestion in cities, such as congestion in urban areas, the price of housing and quality of life. In addition, she has highlighted the work carried out by entities such as the SSPA Network for the construction of a future for these areas.

Recovery and Resilience Mechanism

The meetings took place after hearing the approval of the Council, last week, of the Regulation that establishes the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, the central axis of the EU Recovery Plan. The Regulation, which has been published in the Official Gazette, aims to face the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, promote ecological and digital transitions, and build more resilient and inclusive societies.

Member States will receive Recovery and Resilience funds based on their national recovery and resilience plans, which are currently in preparation. Subsequently, the Member States have until April 30 to present their plans to the Commission and then the Commission will have a maximum period of two months to evaluate the plans and, later, the Council will have four weeks to take its decision regarding the approval of each plan.

The SSPA Network ensures that investing in depopulation is betting on our environment

The SSPA Network ensures that investing in depopulation is betting on our environment

SSPA has presented its report on Environmental Externalities at CEOE headquarters in Madrid. The conclusions of the study place the provinces of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel as life donor territories, given that their environmental and social benefits are spread throughout society.

The Network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas (SSPA) has presented the conclusions of the Report “Environmental Externalities contributed by the Rural Environment and the Impact that Depopulation may have on them: the case of the provinces of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel” , in an event that has taken place at the headquarters of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations in Madrid.

The report places the provinces of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel as strategic territories in the production of renewable energies, in the storage of C02 and with an area of enjoyment 5 times greater than the average of Spain. All of this highlights the role that Cuenca, Soria, and Teruel play for human well-being, both in environmental and economic terms. In addition, these provinces enjoy high potential for the development of a circular, sustainable economy based on contact with nature, holding 16% of the agricultural and forest area of the country as a whole.

The objective of this report is to recognize the benefit that the provinces of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel bring to the rest of the national group. This value has to be internalized by society, to position our territories as areas close to emission neutrality. A work that not only benefits the inhabitants of these areas, but also affects the well-being of the rest of society and the preservation of nature. Well, unlike what is socially believed, the depopulation of a territory does not benefit the environment, since the inhabitants of these areas work on the maintenance and conservation of natural ecosystems. For now, it can be said that investing to stop depopulation also implies protecting our nature.

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The SSPA Network has highlighted the convenience of placing ecosystem services at the center of decision-making and environmental policies, with new laws that establish real and practical measures to achieve a balance between population and territory and that redound to benefit of the whole society.

In addition to defining economic compensation to neutral and donor territories, recognizing their environmental value and financially compensating for the almost zero profitability they generate for their custodians; promote the establishment in these territories of new neutral companies that generate green and quality employment, through economic incentives and through differentiated taxation; promote and encourage corporate environmental responsibility towards these donor territories.