During the first half of 2021 the European Commission is expected to publish its document on the “long-term vision for rural areas”.

The long-term vision for rural areas is coordinated by Vice-President Dubravka Šuica, European Commissioner for Democracy and Demography. Janusz Wojciechowski, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, and Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms will also collaborate to develop the vision.

To this end, a public consultation was opened at the end of July, available at the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12525-Rural-development -long-term-vision-for-rural-areas .

Therefore, the SSPA Network has shared with the Šuica cabinet and published in the consultation its first recommendations for a long-term vision that encompasses all the necessary dimensions to successfully address the demographic challenge for rural areas, particularly sparsely populated areas and territories with severe and permanent demographic handicaps.

In particular, it includes:

1. A legal and operational definition of unpopulated areas;

2. New thematic approach for the diversification of economic activities.

3. Better coordination: multi-level governance and territorial agencies.

4. Connectivity and telecommunications.

5. Rural impact.

6. Changing the image of rural areas.

To read our detailed recommendations, see “Long-term vision for rural areas”.