In the EU, 96 million people live in rural areas, which covers 45% of the territory.
Rural areas offer a range of social and economic opportunities to rural dwellers and the society as a whole, with a unique quality of life, job opportunities in many and diverse business areas. They have a special role to play in the transition to a green and sustainable Europe, by mitigating climate change, providing alternatives to fossil fuels and developing the circular economy.
In the light of designing the long term vision for rural areas, the European Commission launched a public consultation for agriculture and rural development.
The aim is to collect views on current opportunities and challenges in rural areas, aspirations for rural areas in 2040 and the actions needed to achieve these aspirations and it is a first step towards a Commission Communication on the topic, to be published mid-2021. This Communication will aim to support a debate at European level on the future of rural areas and the place they should have in our society. It will propose actions to be taken, including in the shorter term, to achieve this long-term vision for the future of rural areas.
We invite any interested European, including national, regional and local authorities, consumers, the agri-food sector, SMEs, farmers, civil society organisations, rural youth, NGOs, local action groups, rural networks and academics to contribute to the online public consultation until 30 November 2020.