Tailor-made policies are needed to tackle brain drain and depopulation, stressed the European Committee of the Regions in a recent opinion adopted on 16 March.
The opinion follows the publication by the European Commission of a communication on harnessing talent in Europe’s regions, which proposes a series of measures to support European regions affected by a talent development trap. As part of the new Talent Booster Mechanism, the European Commission proposes in particular the creation of an online platform to facilitate the exchange of experience between regions, as well as the launch of the “Smart adaptation of regions to demographic change” initiative to help regions develop appropriate policy strategies.
While welcoming these initiatives, the European Committee of the Regions’ opinion stresses the importance of implementing place-based policies, in particular through the Cohesion Policy. Furthermore, the regions’ representatives point out that policies to combat depopulation should be designed with young people in order to take account of their needs.
Euromontana welcomes the opinion of the European Committee of the Regions and reiterates that the fight against brain drain, and depopulation must be integrated into the Cohesion Policy and all policies affecting rural areas, in accordance with the rural proofing principle. Furthermore, Euromontana recalls that quality of life and economic diversification are the main responses to the exodus of young people from mountain areas to large urban centres.
Euromontana also shares the European Committee of the Regions’ call for a more detailed analysis of the factors and opportunities in regions affected by a talent development trap. As highlighted in our response to the European Commission’s consultation on brain drain, Euromontana suggests that these analyses be carried out below the NUTS3 level in order to better understand population flows within territories, including between regional capitals and more remote areas.
Many mountain areas are affected by a shortage of skilled workers, the emigration of young people and depopulation. In addition, emerging economic sectors, such as the bio-economy, are of clear interest to mountain areas, while traditional sectors of our regions, such as agriculture and tourism, are affected by climate change. These current and future trends require appropriate reflection and strategies to ensure that mountains remain dynamic places to live and work. In this respect, Euromontana is actively involved in the European Year of Skills and will organise a conference on mountain skills in the autumn to promote debate and exchange of good practice between mountain stakeholders.27 March 2023