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Rural Vision
Conferences and summits

Shaping the future of rural areas

High-level Rural Policy Forum 


Since their launch in 2021, the long-term vision for EU’s rural areas (LTVRA) and the Rural Pact have gained political momentum at EU level, with EU institutions such as the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) or the Committee of the Regions (CoR) developing opinions and positioning themselves with respect to this key initiative for the future of European rural areas.

This momentum is moving towards Member States which are exploring how to best participate and contribute to the rural vision and Pact. The Council of the European Union made a reference to the EU rural vision in its conclusions on the 8th Cohesion report on 2nd June 2022 and in its conclusions on bioeconomy to be adopted on 25 April 2023.

The Rural Pact is a framework for cooperation among authorities and stakeholders at the European, national, regional and local levels. It contributes to achieving the shared goals of the long-term vision by facilitating interaction on rural matters between public authorities, civil society, businesses, academia and citizens. Launched in December 2021, the Pact has been developed with EU institutions, stakeholders and members of the Rural Pact community and the final proposal was endorsed at the 1st Rural Pact conference on 15-16 June 2022. The Rural Pact conference in Sweden organised by Sweden government offices on 3-4 May 2023 provides an opportunity to share knowledge on how to act for rural areas in the context of the Rural Pact.

The Commission is exploring with the future Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union possibilities to adopt Council conclusions dedicated to the long-term vision for EU’s rural areas at the end of 2023, building on lessons learnt from the first two years of the implementation of the rural vision, in particular the stocktaking on actions carried out and programmed under the common agricultural policy and cohesion policy for 2021-2027.

The High-level Rural Policy Forum has been organised by the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission with the Rural Pact Support Office. It has offered a bold opportunity to gather key political actors to advance the political agenda for the future of rural areas, prepare a fruitful debate in the Council of the EU, and support Member States to take action to unlock the potential of rural areas in achieving the LTVRA objectives. It has also helped move forward towards greater complementarities among different policy instruments and strategies. 


  • Enabling high-level policy exchanges between national authorities to contribute to the conclusions of the Council of the EU on the implementation of the LTVRA;
  • Share experiences about how EU policies and funds can best contribute to achieving the rural vision in key policy priority areas for the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU and explore ways how the Rural Pact can add value;
  • Establish a dialogue to explore with Member States enhanced multi-level governance frameworks and participatory structures to listen to the voices of rural actors and relevant stakeholders and enhance the design of rural policies that enable them to act in the framework of the Rural Pact.

The Forum has gathered 200 participants, targeting primarily policy makers and public authorities at EU and national levels from all 27 Member States involved in the management of EU funds, covering notably EU common agricultural and cohesion policies. It has also counted with the participation of EU networks and initiatives, regional and local authorities, stakeholder groups, civil society organisations as well as academic institutions working on policy areas covered by the event, while balancing the countries represented at the Forum.

General publications21 September 2023
General publications14 November 2023
Highlights report - EN
General publications20 November 2023
Highlights report - ES


Background material

Video: What is the long-term vision for EU's rural areas?

Video: What is the Rural Pact?

Report on 'Taking stock of how CAP strategic plans contribute to the objectives of the long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas'

Report on the outcome of 2021-2027 cohesion policy programming

Policy Briefing: Making the Rural Pact happen in Member States


Video recordings

Recording of the plenary sessions of the forum (28 September 2023)

Opening by the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Commission

Taking stock of existing policy support for rural areas and looking forward

Making the Rural Vision and Pact happen in EU Member States

Report back from the thematic group discussions and stakeholder reactions

Reflections from Keynote Listener - Enrique Garcilazo, OECD

Final institutional remarks



Morning session
3 OCTOBER 2023
Taking stock of how the Common Agricultural Policy and Cohesion Policy contribute to the LTVRA. Mario Milouchev, European Commission DG AGRI & Wallis Vandebrock-Goelen, European Commission DG REGIO


Group Discussions
3 OCTOBER 2023
Introduction to group discussions. Enrique Nieto, Rural Pact Support Office


Session 1: Data and evidence for policy making

3 OCTOBER 2023
European Rural Observatory and toolkit for EU Funding. Alessandro Rainoldi, European Joint Research Centre
3 OCTOBER 2023
Using evidence for policy making and rural proofing to address rural depopulation in Spain. Juana Lopez, Ministry for Ecological Transition & Demographic Challenge (Spain)
3 OCTOBER 2023
Collecting and analysing data for rural policies: Science-society-policy interfaces. Tristan Berchoux CIHEAM (France)


Session 2: Paving the way to the digital era

3 OCTOBER 2023
Ensuring the deployment of ICT infrastructure in rural areas. Jan Dröge, Broadband Competence Office Support Facility
3 OCTOBER 2023
Boosting digital transformation and skills in rural areas in Spain. Salvador Estevan, Ministry of Economic affairs and digital transformation (Spain)
3 OCTOBER 2023
Rural digital ecosystems and innovation. Klaus Heider, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Germany)


Session 3: Strengthening rural areas contribution to food systems and the bioeconomy

3 OCTOBER 2023
Innovative and resilient value chains in mountain areas. Teresa Pinto Correia, University of Evora (Portugal) & H2020 MOVING
3 OCTOBER 2023
Arctic Smart Rural Community Cluster. Mika Riipi, County Governor of Lapland (Finland)
3 OCTOBER 2023
A biorefinery as a driver for development in rural Extremadura (Spain). Alba Maria Ramos, Natac Group (Spain) & Horizon Europe SustainNext


Session 4: Boosting women’s role in rural areas

3 OCTOBER 2023
Promoting gender equality in rural areas in Spain. Isabel Bombal, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Spain)
3 OCTOBER 2023
Boosting women-led innovation in the rural economy and communities. Sally Shortall, South East Technological University (Ireland), Newcastle University (UK) & Horizon Europe GRASS Ceiling
3 OCTOBER 2023
Rural women’s empowerment through green social entrepreneurship. Anastasia Constantini, Diesis Network


Session 5: Enabling community-led innovation and Smart Villages

3 OCTOBER 2023
‘Third places’ as local hubs for community-led innovation. Marc Laget, Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires (France)
3 OCTOBER 2023
Innovating communities: Empowering local communities to design their future. Gabriel O’Connell, Irish Local Development Network (Ireland)
3 OCTOBER 2023
Smart Villages supporting the green transition in Germany: Bioenergy Village. Anke Wehmeyer, German LEADER Association (Germany)


Session 6: Harnessing rural talent through entrepreneurship and the social economy

3 OCTOBER 2023
The contribution of social enterprises in rural Ireland. Robert Nicholson, Department of Rural and Community Development (Ireland)
3 OCTOBER 2023
Odisseu: Bringing back the youth to rural areas in Spain. Eduard Trepat, LEADER Network of Catalonia (Spain)
3 OCTOBER 2023
Rural Youth Parliaments for the active engagement of youth. Iulia Fatu, LAG Napoca Prolissum (Romania)


Afternoon session
3 OCTOBER 2023
Report back from group discussions.



Information for participants

Participants Guidance (Practical Information)
Field visit project: Destillery in Brihuega
Field visit project: El Colmenar de Valderromero
Field visit project: Brihuega regional day care center
Field visit project: Brihuega Royal Cloth Factory
22 AUGUST 2023
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  • rural region | rural development
  • Wednesday 27 September 2023, 19:00 - Friday 29 September 2023, 18:30 (CEST)
  • Spain

Practical information

Wednesday 27 September 2023, 19:00 - Friday 29 September 2023, 18:30 (CEST)
El Parador, Siguenza

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