In July 2020, the European Commission launched the consultation on the roadmap for the adoption of a ‘Communication on the Long-term vision for rural areas’, which is foreseen for 2021. The roadmap’s consultation was open until 9 September 2020 and received feedback from 198 experts, regarding views on current opportunities and challenges in rural areas, aspirations for rural areas in 2040 and the actions needed to achieve them.
The SHERPA project – through its 20 Multi-Actors Platforms (MAPs) distributed across Europe – has contributed to the consultation producing feedback on the roadmap on the basis of the knowledge gathered (read the SHERPA contribution here).
The SHERPA work confirms the significance of depopulation, climate change effects as well as the digitalisation of services and the use of new technologies as key areas in rural areas. Female entrepreneurship was also identified as an opportunity in the production shift and the diversification of the rural economy. A key message coming out from the project is the positive perception that rural areas are attractive, multi-functional and innovative environments in their own right and as a consequence of the high quality of life available, many European rural areas are appealing to live, work and visit. Hence, the project concludes that policy support for the wide range of actors who build a sustainable rural future together should be coupled with investments in physical infrastructure, basic services and digitisation.
As next steps, the European Commission has just launched the public consultation on the Long Term Vision for Rural Areas. The consultation will be open until 30 November 2020. This phase of the consultation can be accessed here. This step will end in a dedicated communication on the long-term vision for rural areas, that will be published in 2021.