For a White Paper on rurality

The European Countryside Movement calls for the producing of a White Paper on rurality by the European Commission

The production of a White Paper on rurality by the European Commission is nowadays a strategic step and a urgent need for the success of the broader European project and the well-being of the rural inhabitants!

Current development policies generate significant imbalances between cities and countryside. The gap is growing and leads away from the territorial cohesion required by the Maastricht Treaty.

The inequality of residents and local stakeholders in terms of access to public services is growing. The falling levels of health, transport and safety services in rural territories gives inhabitants cause for concern and frequently results in a feeling of abandonment.

The same applies with the quality of the basic infrastructure necessary for development, such as high-speed broadband or mobile telephony. That imbalance is especially damaging for rural territories as Europe has turned more and more to developing a digital society in which the ability to communicate is essential to produce, to sell or to consume.

The contributions that rural territories, with their diversity, can make to the inclusive, sustainable and smart growth aimed at by the Europe 2020 Strategy are under-recognised and under-exploited. The vitality of rural areas is essential to this well-being of both rural and urban populations. The current European policies fail to develop all the rural potential: the situation calls for a major evolution!

The territorial importance of rurality in the EU makes it a major part of the European project: 80% of the European territory is rural or semi-rural. Rural areas, including peri-urban ones, host 58% of the population of the E.U. and 56% of its jobs. Rural Europe today has evolved. Its economy is diversified. Agriculture remains a vital economic and territorial activity, but the secondary and tertiary sectors (services, tourism, SMEs, technological and industrial sectors,...) play a major role in terms of economy and employment.

Preparatory work for the post-2020 programming period are beginning. A simple adjustment of policies (CAP ...) will not be enough. It is important that a deep reflection on rurality can be conducted by the Commission so that policy post-2020 genuinely takes more and better account of rural areas. The production of a White Paper on rurality by the European Commission is nowadays a necessary step to open a wide and overall debate.

Also discover the call for a White Paper on rurality launched by the European Countryside Movement and the « 8 keys to understand ».

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A call launched by the European Countryside Movement and signed by its 15 partner organizations :

  • International Association Rurality-Environment-Development- RED
  • Assembly of European Regions – ARE
  • Association of European Regions for Products of Origin - AREPO
  • European Association for Mountain Areas- EUROMONTANA
  • European Association for Rural Development Institutions - AEIAR
  • European Committee of Property Owners - CEDIP
  • European Council for rural law - CEDR
  • European Federation of Rural Tourism - EUROGITES
  • European Greenways Association – EGWA
  • European Leader Association for Rural Development - ELARD
  • European Network of Outdoor Sports - ENOS
  • European Rural University – URE
  • International Association of Family Movements for Rural Training – AIMFR
  • International Federation of Equestrian Tourism - FITE
  • Peri Urban Regions Platform Europe - PURPLE