Knowing the success model against depopulation in Scotland and transfering it to the institutions and entities involved, participating in fairs, congresses and conferences as well as negotiating with Spanish and European government representatives have been some of the more than 40 activities that the Southern Sparsely Populated Areas network have carried out in 2017.

All efforts are focused on achieving a diversified rural development that guarantees the premises defined by the SSPA network.

The SSPA network celebrates its first year of life with the firm commitment to continue working to achieve legislative and policy measures aimed at reversing the process of depopulation, aging and demographic and economic fragility that threatens provinces of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel.

A 2017 full of activities and actions is closed. Both in the national territory and in the European territory progresses are being made in the fight against depopulation to make it a priority in regional policies of the European Union.

The alliance of the most forgotten territories of the European Union through the SSPA network has managed to get its voice and needs to the current debate of the European institutions on the regional community policy that will be after 2020.

Since its creation, on November 8, 2016 in Cuenca, with the signature of the three businesse associations of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, the SSPA has developed almost fifty events and meetings.

An intense year of work whose milestones can be summarized in the following. During 2017 the trip to Scotland was carried out to verify in situ the successful model against the depopulation of the Highlands and Islands and meetings were held to make it known in the institutions and entities involved in territorial development. In addition, the SSPA network has participated in fairs, events and conferences presenting its project (II National Congress of Depopulation, Presura Fair, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces forums, European Week of Regions and Cities, etc). Important meetings have also been held with the representatives of the Spanish Government, such as the Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, the Secretary of State for Territorial Administrations, Roberto Bermúdez de Castro, the Government Commissioner for the Demographic Challenge, Edelmira Barreira, or the Director General of European Funds and the General Director of Rural Development and Forest Policy, as well as with European representatives from other countries, the European Commission and the European Parliament.

Finally, in this 2017 the economic support of Caja Rural de Soria, Caja Rural de Teruel and Globalcaja of Castilla La Mancha was also achieved, showing their commitment with territories.

In the words of the coordinator of the SSPA, Sara Bianchi, “this year we have made great progress creating Spanish and European contacts, as well as looking for ways to act in our provinces. We have a decisive year ahead for the problem of the most unpopulated areas of southern Europe to make it a priority and to be taken into consideration in the negotiations in the European Union. ”

The SSPA faces the new year focusing all efforts on achieving a diversified rural development that guarantees seven premises: infrastructures and basic equipment; housing; essential educational, health and social services; connectivity; appropriate regulations and taxation; entrepreneurship and job opportunities and, finally, training and talent attraction. 2018 is the decisive year to ensure that, finally, the depopulation and a new model of successful economic and demographic development for the provinces of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel becomes a reality.