More effort needs to focus on Revitalising Rural Areas highlights European Alliance Group
On the 11 of October 2016 during a week-long European Week of Regions and Cities event (formerly Open Days Week), the European Alliance Group held a seminar which looked "Towards an EU Rural Agenda – Revitalisation Opportunities and Challenges" chaired by EA Group President Stanislaw Szwabski. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange views and opinions on how to preserve rural areas from across the European Union that suffers from depopulation and how to increase attractiveness of those areas.
Across the globalised world there is a trend for people to move to cities around the world. This trend clearly affects rural areas and regions in terms of the population profile and socio-economic development.
The seminar welcomed many interesting speakers like Ms Christiane Canenbley from the Commissioner Phil Hogan’s Cabinet, Mr Liviu Bodolan from the Rural Development Programmes Directorate in Romania, Mr Wojciech Kniec, a professor at Nicolaus Copernicus University and Ms Mairéad Ní Oistín from the Planning and Policy Department Údara na Gaeltachta.
The speakers and the audience exchanged many points of view on the topic of revitalisation of rural areas in Europe. One of the most repeated issues was the poor broadband connectivity that isolates rural areas. Mr Enda Stenson from EA group spoke about national governments that focus too much on big cities. He also mentioned inadequate preservation of rural heritage. Ms Ní Oistín voiced her concerns in terms of the employment skills mismatch which needs to be strategically addressed. She mentioned that 'an Gaeltacht' areas (Irish speaking areas) need a new boost in skills development to match the demand for new set of skills.
The final words belonged to Mr Szwabski who emphasised that there is a strong need for flexible policy that would address all the problems. Also managing the balance and suitability of the grants is important so that the investment will arrive to rural areas.
The EU Rural development agenda following Cork II, Christiane Canenbley, Member of Commissioner Phil Hogan's Cabinet
Rural development policy in Romania, Liviu Bodolan, Rural Development Programs Directorate, Romania
Fostering job creation in Rural & Gaeltacht areas of Ireland, Mairéad Ní Oistín, Planning and Policy Department, Údaras na Gaeltachta