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What future for small municipalities in the depopulated Spain?

On 15th and 16th November, the Province of Teruel participated to the conference “Depopulated Spain”, organised by the Spanish Government in Teruel with the close collaboration of the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Featured as part of Dialogues on Future initiative, this conference was an opportunity to discuss about the future of rural municipalities in Spain. Different representatives from rural territories in the country participate to this event and presented the current situation in their areas.

Some of the key questions addressed by speakers were:

  • How can we improve living conditions in the smallest municipalities in Spain?
  • How can we get services to less populated municipalities?
  • What do young people need to live in rural areas?
  • Is a state pact necessary to address these difficulties and needs?

In particular, interventions insisted that, in the future, the number of rural inhabitants will decrease and the rural population will be mainly older and men. According to current projections, smallest municipalities in Spain will lose 4 million inhabitants by 2050. This trend is common to most rural territories across the world and may cause an increase in the gap with urban areas.

In Spain, the national Government aims to develop a strategy that goes beyond short-term measures. To this end, its scope is to facilitate round tables, debates and civil dialogue information for planning the policies until 2050. This strategy shall include measures to support rural remote and mountainous areas.

The European Cohesion Policy can support some of the measures identified by the future strategy. For instance, it can provide financial investments to foster employment opportunities, mobility infrastructures and facilitate social inclusion.

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