Rurality and regional development:
Unlocking our territories' economic and social potential

Comparative advantages of rural territories

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.

Leading Region

             Limousin Region (F)

The goal of the report

This report suggests to formulate clear and operational recommendations to the European institutions concerning the four following challenges and major instruments:

  1. Innovative Care Delivery Models in Rural Areas: how to maintain social services, notably in the field of health? 
  2. Accessibility and attractivity of rural territories: how to develop transport and broadband infrastructures? 
  3. Energy transition: what prospects for change for rural economy? 
  4. Reviving Demographics: what type of policies to welcome and retain project leaders?  
Politician in Charge

Mr. Jean-Paul DENANOT
President of the Limousin Region
Member of the Com. of Regions
Leader of the RUR@CT network 

Contact Person

Director of the Cooperation Delegation Limousin Region (F) 

Why do we need this report?

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. 

Working group formation

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.  

Working group meeting

The working group met in March 2013 to finalise the report.

Related Documents
Report on rurality
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