The SSPA Network attends the annual Forum of the Network of Sparsely Populated Areas of Northern Europe in Norway

The SSPA Network attends the annual Forum of the Network of Sparsely Populated Areas of Northern Europe in Norway

The Network of Sparsely Populated Areas of Northern Europe (NSPA) held its annual Forum on the 15th and 16th of May in the Norwegian city of Tromsø, inviting its southern European homonymous network, the SSPA, to learn about its progress, strategy and projects with which to favor the development of areas with low population density.

In northern Europe sparsely populated territories were organized decades ago in the NSPA Network, which represents several regions of northern Finland, Norway and Sweden. From this European network, they work to raise awareness about their special situation in the EU institutions, influencing their policies and providing a platform to exchange the best practices for the development of the rural environment carried out on their territories.

This network annually conducts a Forum to analyze the progress made in EU policies, present the documents and studies carried out, share the initiatives, projects and investments carried out in the different areas of the territory, as well as analyze the objectives to continue working together in the development strategy of the sparsely populated territories of northern Europe.

On this occasion, they have invited their homonymous network from Southern Europe to learn firsthand about their progress, their projects and the local actors involved in their plan to attract and fix the population. In fact, during the conference both entities have been able to verify that they not only share similarities in terms of population and difficulties, but also that they coincide in the priorities and the initiatives to be carried out, such as the importance of the business fabric and possible lines of work for favor employment.

Through these days, the contact between the Northern and Southern European networks is strengthened, and Sara Bianchi, coordinator of the SSPA Network, emphasizes that “for us it is very important to know how other territories work, even more if the problems they have are similar to ours and after this Forum, we see that we have much to learn, but we also have examples to contribute to the debate. For this reason we will continue to collaborate with the NSPA and maybe soon we can present projects and successful experiences that can bring them”.

The SSPA network seeks allies in Brussels, providing insight into the Southern Sparsely Populated Areas

The SSPA network seeks allies in Brussels, providing insight into the Southern Sparsely Populated Areas

The network has traveled to Brussels this week to participate in events in which it contributes its vision and solutions against depopulation in the European debate. They have also made contacts with possible allies to find a common position on this problem.

The Southern Sparsely Populated Areas network is in Brussels this week participating in events to provide the vision and solutions against depopulation in the European debate.

It has participated in the conference held by RUMRA, a working group formed by three entities: Euromontana, R.E.D. (Rural Environment Development) and Free (Future of Rural Energies in Europe). This Intergroup works, like SSPA, in policies and measures for rural areas. For this reason, the network has been invited with the aim of joining forces to position depopulation in the European debate. At the event, the European advances regarding rural areas have been put on the table, both in the proposals of the Committee of the Regions and in the amendments presented by the MEPs and approved by the European Parliament.

During the debate, the different actors agreed that the territorial problems are common and the solutions have to be aimed at giving a positive image of the rural environment, the collaboration of territorial entities, specialization and innovation. In fact, in the words of the president of the European Committee of the Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz: “only through collaboration with associations on the ground can the EU policy be a success.”

The SSPA network, formed by the business organizations and LAGs of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, has traveled with its coordinator Sara Bianchi and two representatives of the local action groups, Sandra Fidalgo (ADRI Jiloca-Gallocanta, Teruel) and Javier Agraz (ADIMAN – Cuenca). Bianchi stressed, “It is clear that Europe is sensitive to the issue of depopulation, now we must create synergies with entities and countries so that the policies on our territories become specific measures. And this is possible only through the collaboration of all. ”

In addition, continuing with its work of European advocacy has also met with the permanent representation of Germany. During the meeting with its head of agricultural policies and rural development, it was possible to comment on the similarities between Spanish and German rural areas, stressing the need to propose common solutions. Among the issues discussed, the multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027 and the document approved by the European Parliament are highlighted with the aim of adding support for the next phase of debate, where the decision will go to the European Council.

The Cosmopueblita, the Fair of the positiveness of rural life

The Cosmopueblita, the Fair of the positiveness of rural life

The Cosmopueblita was born as the Fair of Rural Life with a positive view. In its first edition will be dedicated to Rural Women, will be held on Saturday April 6 in the town of Burbágena, province of Teruel, and is open to the participation of all those who want to contribute.

The SSPA Network through its partner ADRI Jiloca-Gallocanta organizes this event of debate, exhibition, activities from children and also music. All activities will have a positive message about the quality of life of the villages, showing the cooperation between rural inhabitants and how innovation and creativity are allies when it comes to creating projects.

This event will discuss experiences carried out by young people, businesswomen, promoters of cultural activities, media professionals, rural policies involved, artists … showing how women have created links with the territory from their roots through innovation, and how his new role in this society is an essential contribution to change the rural environment, providing creativity and a new impulse. It will also talk about how to improve in rural development, what is necessary, what fails and above all, what is good, what is positive, what roots us and what invites us to stay.

The Cosmopueblita expects the participation of people interested in improving the rural environment, convinced that rural life provides quality of life because the days have more hours, and also of those who are looking for an opportunity in a village.

The SSPA network participates in the European Week of the Regions to advance its objectives against depopulation

The SSPA network participates in the European Week of the Regions to advance its objectives against depopulation

A delegation of four people from the SSPA network, composed of the network coordinator and representatives of the Local Action Groups of Teruel, Cuenca and Soria, attended this week in Brussels this great event of the European Union to advance its objectives against the depopulation.

The European Week of Regions is held every year in Brussels so that officials and experts can share good practices and knowledge in regional and urban development. This event allows to communicate at a political level about the evolution of the cohesion policy, since it sensitizes decision-makers about the importance of the regions and cities in the political process of the EU.

The aim of the presence of the SSPA network in this European-wide event, with the participation of more than 6,000 people and 600 speakers, has been to monitor the progress of the negotiations on the new Community budget, as well as to analyze the opinions of the participants regarding the importance of the demographic challenges and the territorial development of the depopulated zones.

The event allowed the SSPA network to transmit its work and its demands to a multitude of European actors, both officials and representatives of the European institutions and to different regions and territories present. The significant number of attendees has made it possible to establish contacts and synergies with numerous entities that share problems and demands with the unpopulated territories of Southern Europe.

  • Sparsely Populated Areas, Islands and Mountain Areas meet in the European Week of the Regions

Thanks to the work done during these years, the SSPA network can not only participate as a listener, but also has a more active role when it is recognized by the European actors that are taking decisions on the next financial framework.

Sara Bianchi, coordinator of the SSPA network, was invited to actively participate in the discussions of the Working Group on “sparsely populated areas, islands and mountain areas”, where she claimed “rural pride” and the need to work together to put pressure on in the common demands before the new financial framework. In this paper it was concluded that these three types of territories have much in common and should unite their common points towards a change in the negotiations and the EU’s financial framework.

Attendees have been able to participate in participative talks and workshops on topics as varied as climate change, transport, circular economy, youth, budget design, opportunities for sparsely populated areas, education, the transition to work, cooperation in the territories and they have been able to hear good practices and interesting European projects for the SSPA.

The other members of the SSPA Network delegation who have participated in different seminars were Sandra Fidalgo (Cooperation Technician of the ADRI Jiloca-Gallocanta LEADER Group), Vicente Caballero (President of the LEADER CEDER Alcarria Conquense Group) and Paulino Herrero (President of the LEADER ASOPIVA Group of Soria).