The EU aims to create a debate on the future of rural areas and the role they have to play in our society. This initiative will set out a vision for the future of rural areas by 2040 and gather views covering challenges such as demographic change, connectivity, low income levels and limited access to services.

The need for designing a long-term vision for rural areas was underlined in President von der Leyen’s political guidelines and in the mission letters to Vice-President Suica, Commissioner Wojciechowski and Commissioner Ferreira. The Communication on this long-term vision will be developed under the umbrella of the Democracy and Demography priority and is linked to the report on the impact of demographic change and the Green Paper on aging.

The European Commission intends to work with rural stakeholders, local and regional authorities to develop a long-term vision which will support rural areas in achieving their full potential. The vision will explore innovative, inclusive and sustainable solutions, including those triggered by climate and digital transformations or new developments arising from the current COVID-19 crisis and offer reflections to feed future policies.

Coordinated action at EU level would help identify the most pressing needs for rural areas and further contribute to improving coordination between funding streams and other policy responses at EU and national governance levels. The members of the Intergroup will actively engage with the Commission on this matter.

We invite everyone to participate in the public discussion on these relevant topics. For more information, visit the European Commission website and respond to the Public Consultation here.