The Network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas (SSPA) has transferred to Edelmira Barreira a decalogue with aspects that they consider transcendental, such as making regulatory and fiscal changes, supporting rural entrepreneurship and guaranteeing infrastructures and internet connection.

The Network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas (SSPA) has transferred to the Government commissioner against the Demographic Challenge, Edelmira Barreira, a set of measures and actions considered important to reverse the process of economic decline and population that extends by Cuenca, Soria and Teruel – the most extremely depopulated areas of Southern Europe – and also by many other European territories.

SSPA, integrated by the businessmen of Teruel, Cuenca and Soria, has presented a decalogue with a series of points that they consider transcendental to face the demographic challenge and the depopulation. Among other proposals, SSPA has highlighted the possibility of regulatory and fiscal changes, or to facilitate bureaucratic procedures, in order to encourage economic diversification of the rural environment and projects that take place in depopulated areas. In addition, the document includes other measures such as encouraging and supporting rural entrepreneurship or guaranteeing infrastructures and internet connection, essential for a rural development that is not based exclusively on the primary sector.

Another topic discussed at the meeting was the successful model that reversed the process of depopulation in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, where the creation of an effective structure to organize, plan and take advantage of available resources was prioritized.


The Spanish Government Commissioner for the demographic challenge, Edelmira Barreira, received a SSPA delegation composed of: the president of FOES, Santiago Aparicio, the responsible of CEOE CEPYME Cuenca, Ignacio Villar and the president of CEAT Teruel, Juan Carlos Escuder, as well as the general director of FOES, María Ángeles Fernández, the general secretary of CEOE CEPYME Cuenca, Ángel Mayordomo and the coordinator of the SSPA Network, Sara Bianchi.

The president of FOES, Santiago Aparicio, indicated that during the meeting they put on the table the problems of these depopulated zones like “economy, labor, fiscality, and all type of decisions that can be made and adapt to remove the obstacles such as at the administrative level. In this way we can improve the life of the people who live in the rural areas and who want to invest in it”.

For his part, the representative of CEOE CEPYME Cuenca, Ignacio Villar influenced the debate on the figure of the Highlands & Islands “we have assessed together with the commissioner pros and cons and weaknesses and strengths regarding the adaptation of a similar agency and we have been assessing the possibility of being able to implement it in Spain with the difficulties it may have and the benefits”.

The president of CEAT Teruel, Juan Carlos Escuder called the meeting “Constructive. Commissioner has been open to hear our proposals, some of them were already on her list, and the other ones are now on it.” Adding “we have called for another possible meeting.”

Prior to this meeting, the heads of SSPA have already been working against depopulation with actions that have led them to expose the seriousness of this context before the main national and European authorities responsible for the matter.

Today’s meeting in Madrid is another step to deal efficiently with problems such as low population density, aging or inefficient existing structure to settle new inhabitants, as well as the serious economic, social and environmental consequences arising from this situation.