European Week of Regions and Cities
7-10 OCTOBER 2019 Brussels

The importance of developing better basic services for sparsely populated / underpopulated areas

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Wed 9, October 2019
14:30 - 17:00
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The decline of rural areas and the growing disparities between them and urban/metropolitan regions is an undeniable fact. Unemployment, poverty and social exclusion, demographic change (ageing population, gender disparities and brain drain), less opportunities for education and employment, create huge inequalities between rural areas and the big urban centers. In this workshop we shall examine how the provision of better basic services can help alleviate these inequalities, and ensure sustainable development and growth for everyone, everywhere in the European Union.



Opening Speech (14:30-14:40)

Tanya Hristova, Chair of CoR's SEDEC Commission


Keynote Speech (14:40-14:50)

Concha Andreu, President of La Rioja region


Session 1 (14:50-15:30)

Education and Employment: making a change in an unhospitable world


- Gerard Peltré (President de l'association internationale Ruralité-Environnement-Développment [RED] et du Mouvement Européen de la Ruralité [M.E.R.])

-   Gafo Gomez-Zamalloa (Deputy Head of Unit, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, Unit E4 "Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia; broadband and inclusion")

-   Joomi Renström, CoR member (Member of Ovanåker Municipal Council)

-   Q&A


Session 2 (15:30-16:10)

Urban-rural Partnerships, synergies and rural strategies – can they improve the services' quality in rural areas?


- Petri Kahila (ESPON, team leader of the "European Shrinking Rural Areas Challenges, Actions and Perspectives for Territorial Governance" [ESCAPE], Coordinator of the HORIZON 2020 Resituating the Local in Cohesion and Territorial Development (RELOCAL) project)

- Edina Ocsko (Lead Coordinator, Smart Village Network)

- Alin-Adrian Nica, CoR Member (Mayor of Dudeștii Noi Timiș County)

- Q&A


Session 3 (16:10-16:35)

Policies for maximising efficiency in the delivery of services: the role of innovation, automation and transport


-  Eleni Marianou (Secretary General of the CPMR-Conference of Peripheral Maritime            Regions)

-  Ana Moreno (Leader of the Service Delivery Project, OECD)

-    Q&A


Conclusions – closing remarks (16:35-17:00)



Moderation: Natasha Arvaniti, European Committee of the Regions



Concha Andreu, Natasha Arvaniti, Maria Gafo Gomez-Zamalloa, Tanya Hristova, Petri Kahila, Eleni Marianou, Ana Moreno Monroy, Alin Adrian Nica, Edina Ocsko, Gérard Peltre, Yoomi Renström
A Europe Closer to Citizen
CoR - SEDEC commission
Building CoR - JDE building, Room JDE 53.
Address: Rue Belliard 101, 1040 Brussels

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