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 living in remote areas.
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If you live in a remote region, you will be aware of the unique challenges that arise from being a long way from urban areas, or possibly from certain geographical or demographic conditions. Despite their differences, islands, mountainous areas and sparsely populated regions are remote areas that share common challenges, including poorer access to a range of job opportunities and to basic services in areas such as transport, education and healthcare. In general, remote regions also experience lower economic growth than the rest of the European Union.
The EU plays an active role in helping remote regions to address these challenges and to exploit their development potential. EU-funded projects, for example, helped people living in a remote village in Sweden organise their own public transport by setting up a village bus and isolated people living in a sparsely populated Alpine region on the French-Italian border set up a homecare service system. Certain remote areas, referred to as ‘outermost regions’, benefit from specific EU measures, for instance, to support local agricultural production. The EU’s priorities include developing broadband coverage and enhancing the use of digital technologies in these regions, as this improves access to the job market and services. One example is an EU-funded telemedicine project aimed at providing medical services at a distance in remote parts of Saxony. In the case of mountainous areas, priorities include measures to fight environmental degradation and to promote energy efficiency and sustainable tourism.
- EPRS publication on ‘Islands of the EU: Taking account of their specific needs in EU policy’, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2016/573960/EPRS_BRI(2016)573960_EN.pdf
- EPRS publication on ‘Sparsely populated and under-populated areas’, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2016/586632/EPRS_BRI(2016)586632_EN.pdf
- European Commission’s Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/regional_policy/index_en.htmhttp://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1137