At a Press Conference organised in cooperation with the European Countryside Movement (ECM), regions and international organisations called on the future Parliament and Commission highlighting three key messages:
- Rural areas contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy: Today the EU has a tendency to focus on increasing effectiveness by using factors such as competitiveness, urban areas and innovation. However, other targets, primarily rural areas, are being left out when in reality, these areas encompassing 59% of Europe’s population and 56% of EU’s employment, produce wealth and added value.
- Rural and urban go hand in hand: The European policy approach cannot solely focus on a system of metropoles. The unique spatial quality of Europe must be the connection between urban and rural areas. Rural and Peri-urban areas have a particular role in this relationship, given their importance in terms of local agriculture, landscape quality, environmental management, employment and social cohesion.
- Rural areas are more than just agricultural or recreation zones. Rural Europe of today has evolved and its economy is diversified. Agriculture remains a vital economic and territorial activity, but the secondary and tertiary sectors take up a major role in terms of employment.