(Source: European Committee of Regions)
The President of Andalusia asks to establish a framework for action on rural areas in the context of the European Semester and stresses that “regions and cities need sufficient technical support to implement and monitor the Next Generation EU funds to ensure the recovery of rural areas in Europe”As rapporteur of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) on the opinion on rural areas, the President of the Region of Andalusia Juanma Moreno, today took part in an exchange meeting between the European Commission and the EU Ministers of Agriculture on the future of rural areas. President Moreno stressed the need to further involve regions and local communities in the implementation of the Next Generation EU funds so as to ensure the sustainable development of rural areas in Europe. The CoR will organise a high-level forum in December dedicated to the recovery of rural areas in the Union.
The president of the Spanish Region of Andalusia, Juanma Moreno Bonilla (ES/EPP), urged the European Commission and Member States to ensure the greater involvement of European regions in the implementation of Next Generation EU in order to boost the recovery of rural areas.
The rapporteur of the CoR’s opinion on the long-term vision for rural areas regrets that most national recovery and resilience plans have failed to properly involve cities and regions, missing an opportunity to ensure that future investments in rural areas respond to the real needs of each territory.
” We believe that sufficient technical support should be envisaged so that local and regional authorities, which have less powers in terms of programming and spending of EU funds, can have greater capacity to implement and monitor the Next Generation EU funds. Member States and regional governments need to be encouraged to implement the rural proofing approach for their strategies and investments in the current programming period 2021-2027 for the Common Agricultural Policy, for cohesion funds and the Recovery and Resilience Plans ,” said President Juanma Moreno in a video-message shown this morning during the Informal meeting of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers in which the European Commission officially presented its new long-term vision for rural areas. The meeting was chaired by Jože Podgoršek, Minister of Agriculture of Slovenia, on behalf of the Slovenian Presidency of the EU, and attended also by the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Wojciechowski.
The President of Andalusia stressed the goal to have European rural areas better connected, stronger, more resilient and more prosperous by 2040. He underlined that it is essential that the primary sector heads in the direction indicated by the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the EU Biodiversity Strategy. However, the transition will require a “special effort” in terms of communication, skills and training to raise awareness of the economic and social opportunities that come with the transition towards a sustainable and green agriculture.
In his message to EU Ministers, President Moreno asked to establish a framework for action on rural areas in the context of the European Semester. “ We need the future of rural areas to be part of all EU’s instruments for the periodical economic review, objectives and targets ,” he concluded.
A first exchange of views on the upcoming CoR opinion on the long-term vision for rural areas is scheduled to take place at the CoR Commission for Natural Resources on 27 September. The CoR will organise a high-level forum in December dedicated to the recovery of rural areas in the Union.
The European Commission unveiled its long-term vision for rural areas in June. The publication of the strategy is a major success for the CoR, which has been asking for a rural agenda since 2016. Local leaders welcomed the proposal of a Rural Pact and Action Plan setting objectives and reinforcing the political ownership for investment on sustainable rural developments. Please read the press release here.
In March 2021, the CoR’s Commission for Natural Resources (NAT) adopted a statement to express concern that rural areas may benefit less from the European Union’s plans to help rebuild a post-COVID-19 Europe that is greener, more digital and more resilient. The statement was supported by the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas & Smart Villages.