Rural areas have traditionally been a key focus of the EU’s territorial policies. But while they are targeted explicitly through the EU’s Rural Development Policy, the development challenges of rural areas are also addressed implicitly by the EU’s Cohesion Policy. This study for the European Parliament’s REGI Committee looks at the extent to which Cohesion Policy invests in rural areas, how this differs by Member State and what intervention fields are predominantly addressed – especially in comparison to urban areas.
The team of authors – Stefan Kah, Neli Georgieva and Liliana Fonseca – analyse the challenges of rural areas before providing an overview of the extent and thematic orientation of rural Cohesion Policy funding. Their findings show that urban areas have been allocated over three times as much Cohesion Policy funding as rural territories (€165.5 billion compared to €45.6 billion). Rural areas see the implementation of a lot of infrastructure projects, while in urban areas there are more projects in the areas of low-carbon economy and research and innovation.
The authors also present the relationship between Cohesion Policy and CAP, before taking a look at the role of Cohesion Policy for healthcare. They also reflect on how the post-2020 proposals are potentially disadvantaging rural areas, before providing final conclusions and recommendations for a long-term policy vision.
The study is available to download here.