RUMRA welcomes the adoption of the motion for a resolution addressing the specific needs of Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas, presented by MEP Iskra Mihaylova (ALDE, BG) on behalf of the REGI Committee.
Rural and intermediate areas account for 91% of the EU’s territory, are home to 60% of its population, generate 43% of its gross value added and play host to 56% of its jobs. Rural areas are slowing down compared with urban areas. However, as Mihaylova highlighted during the plenary debate earlier this week, rural areas deserve the same quality of services than anywhere else.
Hence the motion calls for coordination of EU policies to ensure the development of rural territories in order to tackle the economic, environmental and social challenges facing every part of Europe and rural areas in particular. To foster cohesion and prevent the risk of territorial fragmentation in the future, the motion suggests the establishment of a Smart Villages Pact, with a view to ensuring a more effective, integrated and coordinated approach to EU policies with an impact on rural areas.
The Commissioner for Regional Policy Corinna Cretu acknowledged the needs of rural areas and emphasizes that one of her key priorities for the future cohesion policy involves a policy for all regions, as for example discussing the post-2020 Territorial Agenda. Furthermore, she concludes that “it will be very emotional and beautiful if we end our mandate with a pact for rural areas during the Romanian presidency” and to “work together to put all our ideas in place, and see how we can adapt to all the diversity that we have in these areas”. This resolution is a momentum for rural areas but it is still a rocky road ahead.