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AEIDL and PARTENALIA in European Week of Regions and Cities 2023: “We’re staying in rural areas: practices, policies and tools for thriving regions”

Nov 8, 2023 | News

AEIDL and PARTENALIA in European Week of Regions and Cities 2023: “We’re staying in rural areas: practices, policies and tools for thriving regions”.

On 11 October AEIDL – the European Association of Innovation in Local Development – and PARTENALIA, the European network of intermediate local authorities, joined forces to organise a high-level event in Brussels as part of the 21st European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC) organised by the European Commission’s DG REGIO and the European Committee of the Regions.

About 30% of EU regions are facing a shrinking workforce, a low share of higher education and a steady youth exodus. As recognised by the EU Commission (2023), these trends are more severe in rural Europe and contribute to widening territorial disparities. During this EU Year of Skills, this workshop presented current local good practices, policies, and tools to retain and attract talent in rural areas avoiding one-size-fits-all solutions.

Our event We’re staying in rural areas: practices, policies and tools for thriving regions was part of the EWRC, the largest gathering of local and regional decision-makers, practitioners and experts in the world, held annually in Brussels.

The cooperation aimed at presenting the perspectives of both AEIDL and PARTENALIA on the fight against rural depopulation, in order to discuss the interaction between the political strategical priorities and plans of Local Intermediate Authorities and several ongoing and past projects implemented by AEIDL.

90 people from 15 countries attended, half of them from Local and Regional Authorities and particularly from Spain, Italy or France, where our event partners Partenalia has many members. Many EU officials also attended, as well as academics and other pan European organisations.

There were contributions from the senior representatives of PARTENALIA as well as AEIDL, including a contribution from CIHEAM IAM Montpellier that leads the GRANULAR project, in which AEIDL is a partner.

Marta Marczis, President of AEIDL, chaired the event, highlighting the mission of AEIDL do advocate better EU policies to foster, sustainable, innovative, and local development. In so doing we partner with local stakeholders from all over Europe, and indeed networks such as PARTENALIA.

The representatives of the PARTENALIA political leadership, Juan Ramón Adsuara and Mrs. Ángeles Pallarés presented initiatives from their respective provincial councils of Valencia and Castellón in Spain to address the lack of quality housing in rural areas which they consider one the main issues preventing local youth from staying and outsiders from settling in these areas. Provincial governments can support smaller aimed at providing co-working spaces to their constituents as well as ensuring basic public services.

Aurélie Kirsch, from the IAMM Montpellier, and coordinator of our GRANULAR project showed the state of play of our work. Our ultimate aim is to provide a series of tools with very local data that can help inform policies for rural areas.

On that day the Commission also published a new Communication “Demographic change in Europe: a toolbox for action” to support local actors to address the challenge of depopulation in rural areas.

AEIDL is keen to continue this collaboration with this and other projects and organisations in future editions of the EWRC.