– Carlos Torre, representative of the network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas, stressed that “we must change our traditional vision and way of doing things in order to obtain different results”

The Network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas (SSPA) participates in the II National Congress of Depopulation, which gathers today and tomorrow in Huesca more than 400 people from all over the country to analyse the demographic challenge in rural areas.

Carlos Torre, representative of SSPA and president of CEOE Teruel, took part in one of the tables of the day today, June 22, on the need to facilitate cohesion and equal opportunities in the rural world thanks to positive discrimination and with a fiscal policy with bonuses that facilitate the settlement of the population.

SSPA Congreso despoblación 3

This is where Torre exposed the model and tools that have generated economic and demographic growth in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland region, and have managed to reverse the processes of depopulation that threatened those territories. To build a new proposal for rural development, SSPA has found in the successful case of the development agency “Highlands and Islands Enterprise”, which operates in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, a reference perfectly adaptable for its application in our most depressed territories.

Thus, this speech provides the keys to this successful model with a clear message: “to obtain different and better results it is necessary to change our traditional vision and way of doing things,” says Carlos Torre.

He has also proposed “to work with long-term planning, with formulas that preserve these policies from the hazards of politics and undertake certain legal and administrative reforms that are currently hindering and even penalizing entrepreneurship and rural development.”

This is what SSPA already works on in its territorial units recognized as depopulated by the official statistics of the European Union.

The aim is to ensure that European territorial cohesion policy and Member States establish instruments and methods of development that are effective and successful in the most depopulated and fragile rural areas.

The experience so far shows that the conventional development formulas have not worked in the most remote, mountainous and unpopulated areas. Therefore SSPA, in this Congress, has emphasized the need to look at models of success and ways of working as the one that managed to reverse the process of depopulation on the Highlands of Scotland.


The Sparsely Populated Areas of Southern Europe network was born from the union of the Entrepreneurs associations of Teruel (CEOE Teruel), Soria (FOES) and Cuenca (CEOE-CEPYME Cuenca).

The main objective of this network is to create a work group that fights against the depopulation and his consequences in these regions. In fact, these 5 regions are classified in the statistics of the European Unions as sparsely populated area, with their population rates under 12,5 inhabitants per square km.

To this aim, the Sparsely Populated Areas of Southern Europe network (SSPA) will work towards legislative and policy measures aimed at reversing the process of depopulation, aging and demographic and economic fragility that threatens these territories. The five regions set themselves the objective of achieving a different European policy for these sparsely populated areas by 2020.