A long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas: key achievements and next steps

Długoterminowa wizja dla obszarów wiejskich UE: najważniejsze osiągnięcia i kolejne działania

On March 27, 2024. The European Commission (EC) has adopted a report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions focused on a vision for the EU’s rural areas (COM(2024) 450 final) in the long term.

It includes the latest data on rural areas, an overview of new indicators, information on the implementation of the vision for them in the last 30 months, possible ways to implement the European Union (EU) Action Plan and the Rural Pact. Ideas for supporting these areas were also presented. Two working papers accompany the report, supplementing it with detailed information on 30 EU initiatives for rural areas. Further discussion of the issue is expected after the planned June 2024. European elections.

A vision for the EU’s rural areas by 2040.

Since the EU’s rural areas cover 83 percent. its territory, and one in three people live on them, the EC presented in June 2021. A long-term vision for their development until 2040. 10 common goals and 4 areas of action for stronger, better connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas have been identified. The European Commission, in order to achieve its goals, has pledged to launch a rural pact. Its task is to mobilize public bodies and all stakeholders to respond to the identified needs and aspirations of residents. An EU Rural Action Plan has also been introduced, under which the EC is to implement 30 initiatives in a number of EU policy areas.

Achievements to date of the long-term vision for EU rural areas

The report identifies the most important achievements to date in achieving a long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas. These include:

How EU policies contribute to rural development

The report points out that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and cohesion policy are complementary to many other EU funds and policies, contributing to the goals of the long-term vision for rural areas. The EC staff working paper accompanying the report describes the Union’s policies for social inclusion, gender equality, climate and environment, energy, fisheries and aquaculture, animal welfare, mobility, digitization, neighborhood and enlargement policy, education, health, culture, industry or competition.

The report’s assessment includes information on the CAP Strategic Plan’s contribution to the goals of the EU’s long-term vision for rural areas, with a particular focus on interventions beyond agriculture. It was pointed out that the CAP’s economic development activities include investments in tourism, bio-economy, social services, processing, product marketing and the establishment of agricultural and forestry businesses.

Future plans

In the report, the European Commission indicates how the CAP and cohesion policy for 2023-2027 will contribute to the vision for rural areas. He also includes ideas and questions for consideration in the document, including. on how to strengthen EU policies and support in the future. The report’s conclusions and recommendations are intended to provide useful input to the planning of future policies for rural areas and communities and to contribute to the consideration of the post-2027 MFF.

As part of the rural pact in the fall of 2024. A policy laboratory is planned, and in early 2025. Conference on the Rural Pact. These events will provide a space for discussion of the strategic issues in the report and provide an opportunity for feedback on future actions. In addition, the future of rural areas will be discussed at the Cohesion Forum, which is scheduled for April 11-12, 2024.

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