LaCassinazza© - photos by Roberto Garavaglia and Mario Marioli & European Commission ©

FSD, Sustainable development in the countryside

In Europe approximately 75% of the population live in urban areas. Rural areas are perceived as lagging behind in terms of economic growth and competitiveness. They are no longer seen as fertile ground for the fostering of excellence. In spite of their strong and diverse identity, rural areas are struggling to reassert their attractiveness. They are used at best as annexes of urban centres.

Rural development and technologies
The European Union has put the knowledge economy and information technology at the heart of its growing competitiveness. This is changing the nature of territorial planning. The rapid development of Europe's information and transport infrastructure has transformed our perception of time and space with profound effects on the accessibility and economic potential of rural areas.

Rural wealth
While acknowledging the importance of rural tourism, the countryside has much more to offer than museum landscapes. Agriculture, forestry, hunting and angling are adapting themselves anew to the demands of a population more interested in quality, convenience, space and freedom. These activities are no longer the mere producers of grain, wood and game: they also contribute to the structuring of territory, convey values and knowledge and protect a common asset.

Balance and development
Sustainability is a defining element of the EU's model of socio-economic development. This means that urban areas on the one hand and rural areas on the other need to be developed in a balanced manner.

Our common future depends on rural dynamism.