As European leaders are discussing the future programme period 2014-2020, the objectives of economic, social and territorial cohesion must naturally remain a priority. Their achievement cannot only be based on a system of metropoles, but on the contrary, it must be done according to an integrated rural/urban approach which encourages cooperation so that rural territories actively contribute to the European new objectives of "smart, sustainable and inclusive" growth.
The comparative advantages of rural territories in terms of dense areas represent new opportunities which are innovating in the fields of economy, social issues, ecology and the environment. This vision must be based on strategic investments to support the management and the attractivity of rural areas.
Limousin Region (F)
This report suggests to formulate clear and operational recommendations to the European institutions concerning the four following challenges and major instruments:
Mr. Jean-Paul DENANOT
President of the Limousin Region
Member of the Com. of Regions
Leader of the RUR@CT network
Mrs. Cécile VERNHES-DAUBREE
Director of the Cooperation Delegation Limousin Region (F)
In order to liberate the innovation and creativity potential, rural territories must reinforce their accessibility in terms of transport and broadband infrastructures which need targeted investments in synergy with local strategies. Among new instruments proposed by the European Commission, the Integrated Territorial Investments must fully benefit rural territories, considering that they represent an important local development tool.
Faced with the challenges of energy transition, rural territories have ideal conditions to become leaders in the renewable energies production, as shown by numerous encouraging examples. In this regard, rurality is already capable of contributing to sustainable growth objectives of the European Union.
Reviving demographics illustrates this rediscovery of rural territories. This new mobility builds a dynamic economy in our territories, generates employment and cultivates a creativity born from initiatives and meetings between local resources and know-how and these newcomers.
In respect of social and territorial cohesion, the European Union regional policy must allow the support of all initiatives along these lines.
The AER-RURACT Conference was held in Limoges/Limousin on 20 November 2012.
Regional representatives debated on the issues related to rurality and decided to set up a working group of 15 European regions interested in participating in the preparation of the report.
The working group met in March 2013 to finalise the report.