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People from sparsely populated areas [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people from sparsely populated areas.

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People living in sparsely populated areas (e.g. parts of Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, Greece or Croatia) face common challenges, including a limited range of job opportunities, high poverty levels and the dilapidation of public services, such as transport, education and healthcare. These regions often feature specific geographic characteristics: they might be islands, mountainous areas or border regions. Usually, sparsely populated areas are a long way from major urban centres and lack transport connections to them. Transport for goods and people may be expensive and take a long time.

Traditional stone bridge in Epirus, Greece

© dinosmichail / Fotolia

The EU recognises that regions that suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps, such as the northernmost regions with very low population density and island and mountainous regions deserve special attention. It therefore plays an active role in helping people in these areas to improve their living conditions by means of various programmes and measures. These focus mostly on the areas of research, innovation, new technologies, sustainable management of natural resources, investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and support for small and medium sized companies. In addition, a number of other EU funds in various policy fields can further contribute to supporting these regions in the areas of immigration, education and culture, etc. The idea is to use these funds to benefit people by means of economic growth, the creation of jobs, sustainability and innovation.

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