Towards a holistic strategy on sustainable and equitable rural and urban development

Scope and objectives

On 18 June 2021, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Rural Parliament (ERP) will hold an online public hearing aiming to explore ways to achieve sustainability and prosperity through new ways of cooperation between rural and urban areas, building upon the debate held at the EESC NAT Section meeting of 8 March 2021.

This event will bring together a wide range of experts, stakeholders and European Commission representatives on rural/urban/peri-urban areas and balanced and equitable territorial issues to share ideas on how to co-develop a holistic, forward-looking approach for sustainable rural and urban development in the EU. These exchanges will contribute to the elaboration of an EESC own-initiative opinion on this topic, planned for October 2021.


Europe's rural and urban territories are not developing evenly

It is critical to:

  • foster policies that curb this trend,
  • ensure a fair and sustainable transition to a wellbeing economy in all areas,
  • promote population rebalancing.

In particular, rural areas, which play a critical role in economic and social cohesion, in regions' resilience, and in the contribution of countless services from various local ecosystems, including food production, should be made more attractive for young people and businesses. This would improve the quality of life and well-being of all EU citizens, allowing them to choose where they want to live and work. 

For years, the EESC has stressed the need to reduce the development gap between different territories. The EESC is convinced that the future of Europe will depend on how we deal with rural areas and that more cooperation with urban areas is needed to ensure that no areas or citizens are "left behind" in the just transition to a climate-neutral, sustainable and prosperous European Union, in line with the objectives of the European Green and Social Deal, the Next Generation EU recovery package, the Territorial Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

A recording of this event is avaIilable here.

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EESC - Key hearing highlights