The long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas: key achievements and ways forward

European Rural Areas

News − 11 Apr 2024

A new report by the European Commission shows the achievements and pathways for the support and development of rural areas. New strategic questions will lead the post-2027 programming period.

How to enhance financial support for European rural areas and communities through national and regional fund? What are the key challenges arising from depopulation, ongoing transitions, and structural changes for which EU interventions provide added value? What are the best ways to address them in a targeted way that considers the different needs of various rural communities? 

These are just some of the strategic questions that will lead to the further development of rural areas in Europe.


The new report by the European Commission deepens the discussion around European rural areas

On 27 March 2024, the European Commission released the report “The long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas: key achievements and ways forward”.

Directed to the Council and the Parliament, the report answers the commitment made in the rural vision Communication. In doing so, it delineates the actions carried out and provides pathways for further support for European rural areas, based on the implementation of the EU rural action plan.

The main goal of the publication is to inform the reflection to prepare the proposals for the post-2027 programming period.


Key achievements and ways forward for European rural areas

In its three chapters, the report provides:

  1. An overview of the indicators and the latest data. The section shows evidence of the production of renewable energy, the gender gap, the employment by sector, the degree of digital skills, and various other indicators under four action fields (stronger, connected, resilient, and prosperous European rural areas).
  2. An overview of the 30 months of implementing the rural vision, focusing on the contribution of EU policies. Here, the Common agricultural policy (CAP), the Cohesion policy, and other policies are taken into account. Starting from them, the report evaluates the implementation stage of the EU rural action plan, the progress made in each of the four action areas and the horizontal actions (i.e. improvement of data and statistics, creation of toolikts on rural funds etc).
  3. The possible ways forward for the EU rural action plan and the rural pact and ideas on support. Some actions still need to be completed and others need continuity to achieve their goals. After reflecting on how to consolidate the achievements of the EU rural action plan, this section focuses on how to enhance support for European rural areas. Inter-institutional dialogue, outcomes from the events of the rural pact, and the European rural parliament can provide relevant proposals.


What’s next?

To conclude, the report raises new strategic questions and outlines the opportunities for debating these ideas after the European elections in June 2024. Under the rural pact, a policy lab in autumn 2024 and the rural pact conference early 2025 will provide platforms to discuss the questions.

Click here to download and read the full report.


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Photo credits: Christian Heitz on Pexels

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