Citizens of the Province of Teruel (Spain), debate about the Cohesion Policy
Three local workshops rediscover the Cohesion Policy in the Province of Teruel
Between May and July 2022, the Provincial Government of Teruel organised different local workshops in three different municipalities (Alcañiz, Teruel and Montalbán) of the Aragonese mountainr region. The purpose of these workshops was to publicize the Montana174 project as well as to inform mountain citizens on funds provided by the Cohesion Policy in their territory. A large variety of stakeholders including representatives of administrations, public entities, businessmen and entrepreneurs.
Local actors still know too few about Cohesión Policy in their region
As emerged during the local workshops, local actors are not very aware about what is the Cohesion Policy, nor what tools and aids it provides for territorial development. The attendees said that they perceived the Cohesion Policy as a subject is far from their daily lives. This perception is a bit nuanced according to type of stakeholder. In fact, whereas the general public is generally unaware of Cohesion Policy, technicians and potential applicants know about it but they think that it is very complicated to apply for Cohesion Policy funds.
Participants said that they would be keen to listen more to success stories and testimonials in their region. Also, they would also appreciate customised support able to answer to their inquiries with respect to funds and opportunities channelled via the Cohesion Policy.
For this reason, they participants are said to be grateful to have the possibility to learn about it in easy and plain language via Montana174 that it is explained in these workshops. In particular, they highlighted that it is very useful for them to get to know more on what it is and what are the initiatives that how it can help the mountain territories.
Where do Spanish actors would like the Cohesion Policy to invest in?
During the workshops, the Provincial Government of Teruel asked to participants where they would like the Cohesion Policy to invest in on a regional level. Different ideas came from their side, including:
- Sustainable mobility options in remote areas
- Investments to boost mobile coverage in mountain areas.
- Developing a strategy for more attractive towns, with a focus on attracting young people to the mountain areas after they end their studies
- Projects to tackle the lack of workers (trained or untrained), for instance by improving job opportunities or promoting entrepreneurship programs in the areas
- Innovation in the primary sector
- Promote citizen participation in improving the quality rural services
- Environmental protection in mountain areas