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.

SSPA network claims that reduced taxation is possible in depopulated areas

SSPA network claims that reduced taxation is possible in depopulated areas

The Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations CEOE and SSPA network, the adovacy group of the sparsely populated areas of Southern Europe, have presented the Report “A differentiated taxation for the progress of the depopulated territories in Spain“.

This report has been prepared by a group of experts from the University of Valladolid, coordinated by the Doctor in Economics José Antonio Herce San Miguel, and funded from the SSPA network with local action groups funds.

Previously SSPA has delivered the report to the Commissioner of the Government in front of the Demographic Challenge, Isaura Leal, so that be taken into account in the national strategy. They have told her that if measures of fiscal reduction can be implemented to combat depopulation, and for this, only political will is needed.

They have conveyed that if policies and specific measures capable of correcting this situation are not implemented immediately, the imbalance between urban and rural areas will continue to grow to the extreme, with the European Union suffering the inexorable loss of a fundamental part of social values, cultural, economic and environmental factors associated with rural areas. The SSPA network is convinced that this situation can be reversed, as has been demonstrated in other parts of Europe such as Scotland, explaining the reasons why a differentiated fiscal policy is needed and the most effective and efficient measures to achieve positive results.

This report presents a fiscal proposal for the repopulation of a territory that in the report denominates like the “Demographic Ultraperiphery”, with the objective to create the incentives that avoided the depopulation and foment the repopulation. The justification, assessment and socioeconomic impact of a tax proposal for repopulation has been presented, as well as the potential effects of a series of fiscal stimuli of a certain magnitude applied to natural and legal persons of all the territories affected by the depopulation and those that decide to settle in them.

This report assesses the legal reserve, since territorially differentiated tax incentives must pass a strict examination based on the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) to avoid being considered “State aid”. There are precedents in Spain and in other countries adaptable to the case of depopulation, such as the Economic and Fiscal Regime of the Canary Islands that is reflected in the Spanish Constitution as an “Ultraperipheral Region” (due to its geographical distance.) These exceptions, reinterpreted in the plan of the low density and high population dispersion, are those that would help to meet the regulatory challenge posed by the fiscal exceptionality for the depopulated Spain that is defended in this report.

The legal analysis that has been carried out in this report concludes that the recognition of a special Fiscal Zone for the unpopulated territories could have an appropriate interpretation, and that a reasoned request from the Government of Spain could initiate a process towards its authorization by the EU. They have also analyzed that the cost to the state of these differentiated fiscal measures would be minimal and could recover in the medium term with the increase in economic activity that would be generated in these territories.

It is a key moment for the rural environment and the depopulated zones of our country, and this report is the result of the concern for the progressive and unstoppable depopulation of a large part of the Spanish territory, and of the irrevocable commitment of the SSPA network towards the reversion of said process of depopulation providing rigorous proposals. This network will soon make presentations of the report in Cuenca, Soria and Teruel with discussion tables to give more details and analyze them with the whole society.

The European Parliament begins to decide if specific funds are allocated to the Sparsely Populated Areas

This week the MEPs that make up the Regional Development Commission within the European Parliament will discuss some of the most significant amendments for the most unpopulated areas of Europe, and will decide which will be incorporated into the document on future EU policy, which It will define the funds and concrete policies to combat depopulation.

It is a crucial moment for the unpopulated territories of Southern Europe as the European Parliament is in full debate to define and specify the next financial framework, which will define the funds and concrete policies to fight against depopulation

The SSPA network, formed by the provinces of Cuenca, Soria, Teruel, Lika-Senj and Euritania, as a European advocacy group has reviewed the amendments tabled and has contacted some of the MEPs who are defending amendments that support depopulated territories. Its objective is that in the new programming period of the European Funds they promote concrete policies and legislative measures specifically designed to reverse the serious demographic and socio-economic deterioration suffered by the less populated rural territories of Europe.

This European advocacy group has drafted a document on the amendments that are within its proposals and those that support with some revision, and is available on its website.

In a press conference, they highlighted some that they agree on such as the amendment n. 900 that proposes to force governments to fully address the demographic challenge with a global vision; amendment n. 1965 places the focus on the co-financing percentages by proposing that they be extended to the provinces (NUTS 3) with a population density of less than 12.5 inhabitants / km2; on amendment n. 2022 have highlighted that seeks to ensure an extra allocation in the distribution of funds per capita to provinces of less than 12.5 inhabitants per km2, a small amount in the EU budget.

Regarding the possibility of taking into account the depopulation by municipalities, something very important for Spain, the coordinator of the SSPA Sara Bianchi has declared “in June the European Commission told us that there is no official data at European level of the municipalities (LAU2), and this possibility opens a long debate and divides the efforts, while the provinces (NUT3) are recognized despite the fact that until now no concrete measures have been taken for them. ”

Bianchi stressed that “as important as obtaining specific funds is to be clear about how to invest them, it is necessary to have a clear strategy, involving all agents and having a medium and long-term vision”.

Santiago Aparicio, president of the Federation of Sorian Business Organizations (FOES) has stated that “the SSPA network is redoubling its efforts at the moment given that this is the starting point of the negotiations for the new programming period of the cohesion policy where, without a doubt, sparsely populated areas must be recognized. “

The SSPA network meets with the vice-president of the European Parliament and MEPs for depopulation

The SSPA network meets with the vice-president of the European Parliament and MEPs for depopulation

At the present time, the European Parliament is in the midst of a debate to define the next financial framework, on which both European policies and economic funds will depend. Therefore, in recent months, the SSPA network has intensified its advocacy work at European level, pursuing that the various amendments that will be submitted for approval at the end of this month include active policies and measures to combat depopulation.

Representatives of Cuenca, Soria, Teruel, Lika-Senj and Euritania that make up the SSPA network, have traveled to Brussels to start a round of contacts meeting with a representation of the different MEPs who have submitted amendments to the future policy of the EU.

The purpose of the meetings was to discuss the content of the amendments presented on depopulation and promotion of economic development in rural areas, seeking that the new financial framework that will govern European policies in the coming years include specific measures for the less densely populated regions.

The SSPA network has met with the Europarliamentarians Elsi Katainen (Finland), Inés Ayala, and Verónica Lope (Spain) and with the Vice President of the European Parliament Ramón Luis Valcárcel. Thanks to this round of contacts the MEPs have been able to see first-hand the proposals of the network, exchange views with regard to the draft of the future Community policy and advance the joint proposal of concrete measures that contribute to reverse the demographic situation and socio-economic impact of rural territories with greater social, economic and demographic disadvantages.

For the coordinator of the SSPA, Sara Bianchi, “We are at a decisive moment, from the SSPA network we will continue with these meetings in the coming weeks so that the different political forces represented in the European Parliament move the concern for the situation that lives good part of the rural environment to the future European strategies, promoting concrete measures much more effective than the current ones “.