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”.