Long term vision for rural areas

Roadmaps aim to inform citizens and stakeholders about the Commission's work in order to allow them to provide feedback and to participate effectively in future consultation activities. Citizens and stakeholders are in particular invited to provide views on the Commission's understanding of the problem and possible solutions and to make available any relevant information that they may have.

This Roadmap is provided for information purposes only and its content might change. 
It does not prejudge the final decision of the Commission on whether this initiative will be pursued or on its final content. 
All elements of the initiative described by the Roadmap, including its timing, are subject to change.
The need for designing a long term vision for rural areas was underlined in President Von der Leyen’s political guidelines and in the mission letters to Vice-President Suica, Commissioner Wojciechowski and Commissioner Ferreira. The Communication on this long term vision will be developed under the umbrella of the Democracy and Demography priority and has links to the report on the impact of demographic change and the Green Paper on ageing. 
It will also embrace further relevant aspects for the future of rural areas including the implementation of the European Green Deal and the Conference on the future of Europe.
Problem the initiative aims to tackle 
Predominantly rural regions are home to 96 million people and cover 45% of the EU’s territory. 
These areas produce high quality food and non-food products and contribute to the richness and diversity of European culture. 
Their important role in ensuring the stewardship of natural resources and mitigating the effects of climate change will make them a crucial part of the transition to a green and sustainable Europe. 
Studies have shown though that many people in these rural areas feel politically ‘overlooked’ . 
Specific socio-economic issues contribute to this. 
The shift from the primary and secondary to the tertiary sector of the economy has contributed to an outflow of labour from the primary sector and has concentrated job opportunities in urban centres. 
This has been accompanied by negative demographic trends in particular in remote rural areas, in a vicious cycle with a reduction in access to basic services and a widening of the digital gap. Despite these challenges, there are many opportunities in rural areas. 
These include the role rural areas can play in ensuring balanced territorial distribution of the population avoiding overpopulation of cities, in providing food, in mitigating climate change, providing alternatives to fossil fuels and developing the circular economy. Many eco-system services (food, feed, raw materials, water regulation, biodiversity, etc.) depend upon and are generated in rural areas. 
Furthermore, the COVID-19 crisis may introduce significant changes to society (increased teleworking, appreciation for green spaces) which rural areas could benefit from. 
Further action at European level would facilitate and support rural residents in benefitting from the opportunities ahead and ensure that they are not “left behind”. 
Finally, ensuring the involvement of EU citizens is especially important in the context of the Recovery plan.

Visione a lungo termine per le aree rurali: consultazione sulla roadmap dell'iniziativa E' aperta la consultazione pubblica per l'adozione della roadmap relativa all'iniziativa Long term vision for rural areas. La Commissione Europea lavorerà con gli stakeholder rurali per sviluppare una visione a lungo termine che sosterrà le aree rurali nel raggiungimento del loro pieno potenziale. Affronterà sfide che vanno dai cambiamenti demografici alla connettività, al basso reddito o all'accesso limitato ai servizi, ed esplorerà soluzioni innovative, inclusive e sostenibili, comprese quelle innescate dal clima e dalla trasformazione digitale o dai nuovi sviluppi derivanti dall'attuale crisi COVID-19, offrendo riflessioni per alimentare le politiche future.

E' possibile partecipare alla consultazione fino al 9 settembre 2020.