In a recent gathering at the High-level Rural Policy Forum held in Sigüenza, Spain, the Rural Pact Community underscored the pivotal role of providing local actors and communities with easier access to financial opportunities. This strategic move aims to empower them to realise their projects and aspirations, fostering a more unified and comprehensive development of rural territories with an emphasis on inclusivity.
A noteworthy initiative in this direction is the Rural Toolkit for EU funding, a collaborative effort between DG REGIO and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission under the Rural Action Plan. This tool, currently in development, is set to play a crucial role in assisting rural actors in effectively accessing and utilising EU funds. Designed to offer practical guidance, tools, and best practices, it aims to elevate the territorial development of rural areas, aligning with the objectives outlined in the Long-Term Vision for the EU’s Rural Areas.
The High-Level Rural Policy Forum, a congregation of more than 200 participants representing all EU Member States, served as a platform to advance the political agenda for the future of rural areas. The event united European and national high-level political representatives, including European Commissioners, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Secretaries of State, and senior managers responsible for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Cohesion Policy (CP).
The Forum facilitated a structured dialogue to explore how EU policies and funds can be optimally deployed to realise the Rural Vision in alignment with the policy priorities of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU. Additionally, it sought to improve the design of rural policies and encourage active participation within the framework of the Rural Pact. The discussions delved into enhancing multi-level governance frameworks, participatory structures, and ways to amplify the voices of rural actors and stakeholders. The overarching goal was to identify avenues through which the Rural Pact can bring added value to rural development.
To delve deeper into the insights and key messages from this significant event, a comprehensive report has been compiled by the EU Rural Pact. This report aims to contribute valuable perspectives to the conclusions of the Council of the EU on the Long-Term Vision for the EU’s Rural Areas. For those interested in gaining a nuanced understanding of the discussions and outcomes, the full report is available for download below, providing an informative resource for stakeholders, policymakers, and anyone invested in the sustainable development of rural territories.