All people, both urban and rural dwellers, deserve to live decently, have access to jobs, information, transport and cleaner energy sources.

The intergroup on Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas has been created in 2014 as a response to the growing needs of those living in non-urbanised areas of Europe, which are often underrepresented in public dialogue. The Intergroup is a forum for policymakers and civil society to discuss initiatives and legislation which could have an impact on the well-being and future of more than 113 million people living in the areas we represent.

The intergroup has been initiated by Mrs. Mercedes Bresso, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), the Chair of the Intergroup, and three grass-root organisations: Euromontana, Rurality – Environment – Development (R.E.D) and the Future of Rural Energy in Europe (FREE initiative). Currently the intergroup is supported by a wide range of civil society movements (like the European Countryside Movement) as well as a growing number of Members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum.

Aim

  • For all aspects of the non-urban economy to be addressed equally and proportionally.
  • To close the opportunity gap between urban non-urbanised areas.
  • To raise awareness of the European Parliament’s contribution to improving the wellbeing of citizens living in rural, mountainous and remote areas.
  • To highlight the contributions of all areas we represent to the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Mission

  • To prevent further social, economic and technological exclusion of those areas and their inhabitants.
  • To ensure that their issues are addressed structurally and consistently, and to listen, share and address concerns of citizens and businesses located in rural, mountainous and remote areas at the EU policy level.
  • To form a link between MEPs and civil society, bringing case studies and examples from across European non-urbanised areas to the attention of policymakers promoting best practices.
  • To unify the non-urbanised voice within the European Parliament, currently scattered between various committees (AGRI, REGI, ENVI, ITRE, EMPL) and properly represent the voice of rural, mountainous and remote areas.

Why an intergroup on Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas?

Non-urbanised areas in the European Union are home to 113 million people, 12 million farms and 172 million hectares of agricultural land. Rural, mountainous and remote areas contribute widely to European economies, cultures and ecosystems. Yet EU policies often overlook these key regions, contributing to the widening gap between those areas and their urban.

The facts speak for themselves

  • GDP per capita in non-urbanised areas is just 70% of the EU average, whereas urban inhabitants enjoy a GDP per capita as high as 123% of the EU average.
  • Unemployment rate in non-urbanised areas increased from 7% to 10.4% between 2008 and 2012.
  • A quarter of the population in rural, mountainous and remote areas has no access to Internet.
  • In the areas we represent, elderly people (over 65) represent a worrisome 20% of the total population.
  • Although it is the main source of employment in Europe, the service sector only covers 24% of non-urban employment.