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EU to present 'ad hoc' support strategy for rural areas

EC Vice-President Suica makes announcement at ESPON conference

(ANSA) - BRUXELLES, 17 GIU - European Commission Vice-President Dubravka Suica has said that the "long-term vision for rural areas" that the Commission will present at the end of the month will give more opportunities and targetted solutions to these areas because it is necessary to "avoid asymmetric recoveries and ensure all European territories have the instruments to come back from the pandemic".
    Suica was speaking at an event on the transition and transformation of rural areas in Lisbon organized in collaboration with the Portuguese duty presidency of the EU as part of the ESPON week devoted to the EU cooperation programme specialized in the analysis of regional policies.
    The vice-president stressed the need to exploit the opportunities of the EU's green and digital transition and learn the lessons of the pandemic.
    "This will help us to identify the instruments to have better quality of life in rural areas, achieve balanced territorial development and stimulate the economic growth of these areas," Suica added. According to the vice-president, the use of new technologies will be particularly important in contributing to elaborating a "new outlook of growth" in rural areas that "goes beyond agriculture, animal farming and silviculture" in favour of the manufacturing and service sectors.
    Portuguese Environment Minister Joao Pedro Matos Fernandes took part in the event, which was moderated by ESPON Director Wiktor Szydarowski.
    Matos Fernandes said that the territorial dimension was the connection between the Portuguese National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) and the national programme for territorial planning because "the issue of territory must be at the centre of public policies".
    Vasco Cordeiro, the vice-president of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), then outlined the elements he sees as crucial in order to ensure a just, Green recovery for rural areas: awareness at the sub-national level, empowerment at all levels of governance and lawmakers who are aware of the issues and implement "the right decisions".
    ESPON carries out, and will continue to carry out, a decisive role in these three areas, Cordeiro observed, providing data at the European, national and sub-national levels, without which "there are no political decisions".
    The vice-president complained about the lack of participation of the regions in the decision-making process in relation to the reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP) and the structure of the multi-year financial frameworks. (ANSA).


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