On April 19th, 2016, AREPO participated to the “Conference for a rural Agenda in the programming period post 2020” organised by the Rurality-Environment-Development network (RED) and the NAT commission of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), in partnership with the European Countryside Movement (ECM).
The conference aimed at contributing to the discussion on the EU post-2020 programming period, presenting the call for a White Paper on Rurality, launched by the ECM and sustained by numerous other stakeholders.
Rural areas represent 80% of EU territory and, including those areas qualified as peri-urban, account for 58% of the Union’s population and 56% of its employment. European rurality has evolved, becoming more diversified: agriculture still determines land use, but secondary and tertiary activities (services, tourism, SMEs, the technology and industrial sectors) have become very important for the economy and for employment.
The vitality of rural areas is essential to the well-being of both rural and urban populations. Nevertheless, the potential of rural areas, in all their diversity, is still underutilised in relation to the objectives of Europe 2020 strategy. For this reason, the ECM asks to the European Commission for a radical change in order to ensure that the needs of rural areas are better taken into account at policy level.
After the warm welcome of Anthony Gerard Buchanan, first Vice-chair of the NAT Commission of the CoR, AREPO with 16 other partner organisations of ECM, intervened supporting the call for a White Paper on Rurality. In particular, AREPO highlighted GIs potential for the sustainable development of rural areas. GIs can play an important role in safeguarding employment and keeping traditional production systems alive, especially those based on small and medium enterprises, and located in marginal areas.
During the round table, Mathieu Fichter from Commissioner Cretu’s Cabinet, Mihail Dumitru, Deputy Director-General of DG AGRI, and Mercedes Bresso, MEP and Chair of the RUMRA Intergroup, reviewed the existing instruments available for rural development and discussed the idea of the White Paper on Rurality.
The discussion was followed by the presentation of the draft report on how the CAP can improve job creation in rural areas, by MEP Eric Andrieu, first Vice-Chair of Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Parliament.
The President of RED, Gérard Peltre, concluded the conference highlighting the need for an in-depth debate and collaboration among rural stakeholders and European Institution, to ensure a better underpinning of rural policy post 2020.
For more information on the call for a White Paper on Rurality consult the following link: