Author: Miranda García (AEIDL)

On 13th December, the European Parliament approved the report on the long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas!

The report, released in early 2022, remarks on the need for immediate action with clear and achievable objectives: higher minimum wages, good working conditions and social integration, gender balance in the agricultural decision-making bodies, and reduced unemployment for women.

In this sense, the report highlights the need for measures at the EU, national, regional and local levels that ensure digital inclusion and promote adapted digital skills while supporting an enabling environment for innovation and the development of tailor-made digital solutions. It points out the potential of digital tools for sustainable agriculture and smart farming, for local, short supply chain development and for increasing the attractiveness of the agricultural sector to young farmers.

It also calls for smart villages to be made a flagship project of the EU rural action plan, rather than being part of the flagship action on research and innovation for rural areas. This new scenario would help promote rural development by solving the challenges of depopulation and radicalisation.

In the same line, the report, which was led by MEP Isabel Carvalhais (S&D, PT), underlines the importance of smart specialisation strategies for the future of rural areas, with particular regard to young people, women, innovation, knowledge-sharing and cooperation.

Given that rural areas represent more than 80 % of the EU territory and are home to 30 % of its population, the European Parliament asked the Commission to properly address the needs of rural communities and remove obstacles to the multi-fund approach and improve coordination between EU and national funding instruments.

MEPs also stressed the importance of implementing rural proofing mechanisms for EU initiatives, urging to make it mandatory and underlining the importance of involving local and regional authorities in the definition and implementation of these mechanisms.

To know more about the plenary at the European Parliament, read the press release