A delegation of four people from the SSPA network, composed of the network coordinator and representatives of the Local Action Groups of Teruel, Cuenca and Soria, attended this week in Brussels this great event of the European Union to advance its objectives against the depopulation.

The European Week of Regions is held every year in Brussels so that officials and experts can share good practices and knowledge in regional and urban development. This event allows to communicate at a political level about the evolution of the cohesion policy, since it sensitizes decision-makers about the importance of the regions and cities in the political process of the EU.

The aim of the presence of the SSPA network in this European-wide event, with the participation of more than 6,000 people and 600 speakers, has been to monitor the progress of the negotiations on the new Community budget, as well as to analyze the opinions of the participants regarding the importance of the demographic challenges and the territorial development of the depopulated zones.

The event allowed the SSPA network to transmit its work and its demands to a multitude of European actors, both officials and representatives of the European institutions and to different regions and territories present. The significant number of attendees has made it possible to establish contacts and synergies with numerous entities that share problems and demands with the unpopulated territories of Southern Europe.

  • Sparsely Populated Areas, Islands and Mountain Areas meet in the European Week of the Regions

Thanks to the work done during these years, the SSPA network can not only participate as a listener, but also has a more active role when it is recognized by the European actors that are taking decisions on the next financial framework.

Sara Bianchi, coordinator of the SSPA network, was invited to actively participate in the discussions of the Working Group on “sparsely populated areas, islands and mountain areas”, where she claimed “rural pride” and the need to work together to put pressure on in the common demands before the new financial framework. In this paper it was concluded that these three types of territories have much in common and should unite their common points towards a change in the negotiations and the EU’s financial framework.

Attendees have been able to participate in participative talks and workshops on topics as varied as climate change, transport, circular economy, youth, budget design, opportunities for sparsely populated areas, education, the transition to work, cooperation in the territories and they have been able to hear good practices and interesting European projects for the SSPA.

The other members of the SSPA Network delegation who have participated in different seminars were Sandra Fidalgo (Cooperation Technician of the ADRI Jiloca-Gallocanta LEADER Group), Vicente Caballero (President of the LEADER CEDER Alcarria Conquense Group) and Paulino Herrero (President of the LEADER ASOPIVA Group of Soria).