The European Commission has launched an initiative focused on the needs of rural communities.
The Rural Pact is part of the commission’s long-term vision for rural areas across the EU, which was unveiled last June.
That document outlined the challenges and concerns facing European rural areas, as well as outlining “the most promising opportunities” which are available to these regions.
The European Commission highlighted that an older population; underdeveloped infrastructure; lack of connectivity; an absence of diverse employment options and a limited access to services are among the challenges facing rural areas.
However, it noted that “rural areas are key to the future of Europe and are core components of the twin green and digital transitions”.
It said that some rural communities are already seizing these “new opportunities”.
The commission has also put forward an action plan to promote sustainable, cohesive and integrated rural development.
Both the vision and action plan outline four areas of action: empowering rural communities; improving connectivity; preserving natural resources; diversifying economic activities and improving the value of farming.
The Eu Commission’s Rural Pact aims to mobilise public authorities and stakeholders to take action on the needs of rural communities across the EU.
The initiative will draw up a framework to engage people at local, regional, national and EU level.
The EU Commission has launched a period of public consultation on the Rural Pact; this will remain open for submissions for six months.
In June 2022, it is planned that a high-level conference will be held to discuss the contributions and to define the actions that will be taken under the Rural Pact.
The commission has said that the Rural Pact and Rural Action Plan will provide a long-term vision which aims to make the “EU’s rural areas stronger, more connected, more resilient and more prosperous”.