A vision for rural areas towards 2040
The long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas is a European Commission initiative to develop a common European vision for 2040.
It recognises the diversity of rural territories across Europe while identifying common challenges and opportunities.
In shaping this long-term vision, the Commission gathered the views of rural communities and businesses via public consultations and stakeholder-led events.
Through this collaborative process, the Commission created a wide-ranging vision and a comprehensive rural action plan to help rural communities and businesses reach their full potential in the coming decades.
Ten shared goals, summarised by four complementary areas of action emerged, embodying a long-term vision from, by and for stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas by 2040.
How was the vision developed?
Engaging with stakeholders and citizens
The views of rural communities, farmers and businesses are essential in shaping a rounded vision for the future of rural areas. From the outset, the Commission has worked with the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD), National Rural Networks and support units, and stakeholder organisations to provide opportunities for sharing views and information with rural stakeholders and draw scenarios for the future of EU rural areas.
The Commission has also undertaken an open public consultation, allowing citizens, civil society and stakeholders to share their views, experience and expectations in relation to the long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas. It also provided a workshop package to encourage groups of rural citizens to explore their ideal vision for the future of their own rural area and feed their views into the process. 170 contributions were received from workshops organised in 19 EU countries involving over 3 000 rural citizens. The outcomes are summarised in the ENRD's Rural Voices report of June 2021.
The results of the consultation were presented during the Rural Vision Week, organised and supported by the ENRD. This week-long online event provided further opportunities for rural stakeholders – and all citizens who have an interest in contributing to a vibrant and viable future of rural areas – to participate, exchange views, and have their say.
Results of the Eurobarometer surveys
Several questions in the Special Eurobarometer survey 504 carried out between 3 August and 15 September 2020 referred to the situation in rural areas, how things had changed from 2009 to 2020, and to the objectives of rural development. 95% of respondents indicated that agriculture and rural areas are important for the future.
The Flash Eurobarometer survey 491 was carried out between 9 and 18 April 2021, assessing what priorities the long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas should focus on. The key findings can be summarised as follows:
- 79% of EU citizens support the EU giving consideration to rural areas in public spending decisions;
- 65% of EU citizens think that the local area or province should be able to decide how EU investment in rural areas is spent;
- 44% of citizens mentioned transport infrastructure and connections as a key need of rural areas.
- Commission Communication: a long-term vision for the EU's rural areas
- Staff Working synopsis report: a long-term vision for the EU's rural areas
- Staff Working Document (part 1): a long-term vision for the EU's rural areas
- Staff Working Document (part 2): a long-term vision for the EU's rural areas
- Staff Working Document (part 3): a long-term vision for the EU's rural areas
- Factsheet: a long-term vision for the EU's rural areas
Responses from EU institutions