The European Commission’s long-term vision for rural areas has been welcomed by European young farmer and rural youth organisation CEJA.

CEJA is comprised of young farmer organisations from across Europe – including Macra na Feirme in Ireland.

The commission’s document – published earlier today (Wednesday, June 30) – aims to set out a vision for the future of rural areas by 2040 and address core challenges such as demographic change, connectivity, low income levels and limited access to services.

CEJA and Rural Youth Europe, the two main European organisations representing rural youth and young farmers, both warmly welcomed the publication.

CEJA’s newly-elected president Diana Lenzi reacted positively to the publication, stating:

“The long-term vision takes a clear stand in favour of creating new economic opportunities in rural areas and enabling young entrepreneurs like us to achieve their projects, for example by raising obstacles to land access and providing support for knowledge and innovation.

“As young farmers, we are fully committed to the development and maintenance of more diversified and resilient local economies, provider of employment and self-development for all.

Chairwoman of Rural Youth Europe Linzi Stewart commented on the European Commission’s communication, adding:

“After today’s publication, we cannot emphasise enough how essential it is for the EU, national, regional and local authorities to be more proactive when it comes to enabling learning opportunities in rural areas, be it through networking, exchange programmes or the use of new technologies.

“Accessing equal opportunities is of primary importance to boost quality and stable employment as well as personal development to the service of local communities.”

Europe’s young farmers and rural youth “particularly value” the establishment of a rural observatory and toolkit on funding opportunities which they “consider great instruments to better inform on policymaking”, the organisations said.

CEJA and Rural Youth Europe will work closely together to follow up on the vision and make sure that it will be translated into concrete actions.