The Network of Sparsely Populated Areas of Southern Europe has participated in the meeting of the rural revitalization group organized by the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) to transmit first-hand the needs and expectations of the depopulated provinces.

Brussels, March 31, 2022. The SSPA Network – founded by CEOE CEPYME Cuenca, FOES and CEOE Teruel – has shared its vision with the European Network for Rural Development in order to show the needs and expectations of the sparsely populated provinces of the southern Europe, visualizing in turn its work and its collaboration with other actors to reverse this situation.

This invitation is part of the vision for rural areas for 2040 that the European Commission presented in June 2021 and that proposes a series of actions, flagship initiatives and tools with the ambition of promoting the revitalization of rural areas, including the creation of a Rural Revitalization Platform which should be a one-stop shop for rural communities, project owners and authorities to collaborate.

In this sense, and to help shape the future platform, the ENRD has invited the SSPA Network and other actors from European rural territories to participate in the debate, share their visions and opinions on what this tool should include to support the design of rural revitalization policies.

SSPA intervention

During the intervention, way of working, collaborating with other actors in the territory were the main aspects, as well as the work carried out in recent years in different areas: state aid, Map 174 presented in 2020 and different projects in which it is working on behalf of the business confederations of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, especially in terms of solutions to the employment needs of companies in these provinces. The coordinator of the SSPA Network, Sara Bianchi, has highlighted the need to address rural revitalization in a comprehensive manner, involving citizens and the actors of the territory who best know their needs and problems. She has also insisted on the need for a tool that facilitates citizens’ access to European information and that unifies the possibilities of European financing.

Thanks to the interventions of experts such as the Network of Sparsely Populated Areas of Southern Europe, the members of the ENCR have begun a reflection on the future Rural Dynamization Platform, as well as the key elements and characteristics to revitalize the areas affected by the loss population, aging and lack of economic opportunities.