The European Parliament Intergroup on sparsely populated, mountainous and remote rural areas, Smart Villages for Rural Communities, has added as a new member to the Network of Sparsely Populated Areas of Southern Europe (SSPA); an official recognition that will help move the extreme depopulation situation in some territories of southern Europe. In his first speech at this SSPA forum, he stressed the importance of continuing to work so that the amendments that have to provide funds and policies for the development of depopulated areas go ahead.

This EU Intergroup is the continuation of RUMRA, it has changed its name to Smart Villages for Rural Communities in order to use the brand created around the Smart Villages initiative during the last term. It is a working group for policy makers to carry out coordinated legislative and political initiatives in favor of regions that are underrepresented in public dialogue. It is formed by members of the different groups, especially concerned with this issue, and entities related to the rural environment in Europe such as Euromontana, RED (Rurality, Environment and Development), FREE initiative (Future of Rural Energy in Europe), JSCA (European Council of Young Farmers) and the SSPA Network as a new member.

Its objective is to bring the voice of rural communities to the European Parliament, promoting initiatives in rural development in these areas with a transversal vision. In addition, they disseminate the whole society as these territories are areas of opportunity and strengthen the territorial cohesion of the European Union, as recognized in the Lisbon treaty in which the specific needs of these territories are recognized.

The European Lobby of the SSPA Network, formed by the business organizations and leading groups of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, has been working in contact with various European Union and Euro-parliamentary entities for years, transmitting the serious demographic and development situation of these areas and the lack of policies and funds to face a recovery that is necessary to achieve territorial cohesion in Europe. His serious and documented work has made it a recognized entity, assiduously participating in forums and events where the situation of the European rural environment is addressed, and generating close collaboration with representatives and organizations from other unpopulated areas of Europe.

The SSPA network attended last Tuesday at the Intergroup meeting in the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, where it has begun its remodeling with the new Europarliamentarians. As a new associate member in its response to the welcome speech of its President, Slovenian MEP Franc Bogovic, SSPA has urged European deputies to defend the amendments introduced at first reading to the regulations of the funds in the last legislature to force the EU and its member states to implement effective policies and funds against depopulation throughout Europe and especially in provinces with less than 12.5 inhabitants per square kilometer, such as Cuenca, Soria, Teruel (Spain, Lika-Senj (Croatia) and Euritania (Greece).