Written by Vasilis Margaras,
The post-2020 cohesion policy reform is already the subject of debate among policy-makers, stakeholders and EU institutions. One issue being discussed in various European and regional institutions is that of the insufficient support for the EU’s sparsely populated and underpopulated areas. The challenges these regions face are very much related to demographic change, and raise the general issue of the level of EU funding for regional development.
Various studies suggest that low population levels and remote locations mean that sparsely populated and underpopulated regions’ economies tend to grow much less than the EU average or to stagnate altogether. They also claim that these regions suffer from a number of structural problems that pose major challenges, such as low birth rates and a lack of transport connections, job opportunities and adequate social services. However, although all these may be considered to be serious problems, various studies suggest that broadband technologies, tourism and agriculture could provide new opportunities to boost the economic prosperity of sparsely populated and underpopulated areas.
This briefing seeks to analyse the issues that affect sparsely populated and underpopulated areas and provide a short overview of the EU support available for this category of region. Details will also be provided of the role of the European Parliament and the views of the various stakeholders.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Sparsely populated and under–populated areas‘ (available in EN and ES).