In addition to the common agricultural policy, the European Commission also wants to update the rural policy. It was recently agreed that agricultural subsidies will be changed with effect from 2023. The associated 'second pillar' for rural development (EAFRD) is the main source of funding for the new long-term vision.
In the near future, the EU countries will first draw up their own strategic plans for their national priorities within the CAP. In 2023, an evaluation of the rural plans that have been implemented up to that point will start. Based on this, it is examined which course should be followed and which rural areas need more funding.
At the end of this year, the European Commission, in collaboration with the Committee of the Regions, municipalities, provinces and water boards, will examine how the objectives of a new rural vision can be achieved. A nationwide observatory is planned to collect and analyze data.
The rural areas in the EU make up more than 80% of the territory and 30% of the population live there, about 137 million inhabitants. In twenty years' time, they must have access to good public facilities, be resilient, have good digital and physical infrastructure and form a socially inclusive society.
Citizens must have access to good public facilities and be given the opportunity to participate actively in local decision-making and politics, it is argued.
The digital and physical infrastructure must ensure that rural and urban areas remain well connected, through sufficient roads and railways, reliable and frequent public transport and the roll-out of the 5G network.
Furthermore, the EU wants rural areas to become more resilient to economic crises, natural disasters and the effects of climate change. According to Brussels, rural areas can become more prosperous by diversifying the regional economy. In addition, the promotion of local products and innovation in the agri-food sector should also generate more prosperity.