In a recent statement, members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) have expressed 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.
On 23 March 2021 the Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament’s Intergroup on RUMRA & Smart Villages issued a joint press release linking it to the start of the Rural Vision Week, organised by ENRD and DG AGRI.
The statement strongly rejects any plan that does not follow the partnership principle and associates rural areas in the drafting.
Rural regions cannot be left behind and their needs must be fully reflected and streamlined in the national Recovery and Resilience Plans. Hence, a clear strategy is needed to avoid recovery plans aggravating the gap between lagging rural communities and urban areas.
Specifically members asking for:
- the European institutions and national governments to involve local and regional authorities in the preparation of the national Recovery and Resilience plans in order to include the local dimension in an effective way;
- Member States to engage in policy dialogues with all the relevant stakeholders;
- all relevant institutional actors to carefully monitor the use of Next Generation EU funds at territorial level to ensure that funds are distributed fairly between regions;
- Member States and managing authorities to facilitate and simplify access of rural areas to Next Generation EU funds.