from the Philoxeniaplus Community Project of Development of
«WELCOMING AND ATTRACTIVENESS POLICIES FOR PEOPLE AND ACTIVITIES IN EUROPEAN RURAL AREAS»
within the framework of Europe 2020 Strategy
MED Partner: Local Employability (EM.LOC.) – Transnational Project Leadpartner
This project is co-financed by ERDF via the MED Funding Programme
Most of our rural areas are experiencing a slow demographic and economic decline. Yet we know that urban concentration is not desirable. Numerous persons and families wish to migrate from the cities to the countryside. Yet, for lack of jobs, specific projects or more generally perceived opportunities, this desire for rurality often simply remains in a state of desire.
However, there are policies that aim to achieve the junction between the needs for rural regeneration and desires for migration to the countryside. The policy called Welcoming and Attractiveness strives to fulfil both needs and desires concerning countryside.
The level of local offer on quality paid employment opportunities does not allow will not allow developing our small municipalities. It will always insufficient to meet the potential demand. In contrast, micro-entrepreneurship can be a solution for the desire for implantation in a rural place, especially if accompanied from the beginning. Namely, individual initiative is not always enough. The information might not always be available; the starting costs might be unbearable for an individual.
So the Welcoming and Attractiveness Policy is aiming at providing information on opportunities for activities in rural areas, facilitating integration of newcomers, developing partnerships, pooling costs, and accompanying those in need. It should be noted that for these reasons they are a worthwhile investment.
I. The Welcoming Policy is possible - even at your place, since it has already been tested in several countries of the European Union and in its Mediterranean region in particular. The recommendations below are designed to help you build your Welcoming policy.
1) Inform and inspire yourself! It has already been done!
Some of the already existing websites may help you understand both the general principles and the details of this policy and how to implement it: installation-campagne.fr/, referentiel-accueil.fr/, emloc.gr, philoxeniaplus.eu.
2) Do never stay alone while preparing!
Draw up a special working group limited to 2-3 members, of which one is responsible for monitoring and preparation of the project and the creation of a folder containing all relevant information. In the next stage identify all resource persons that may be assembled to express their opinions on the implementation of Welcoming policies.
3) Design (a good) initial idea!
It is important to carry out a baseline analysis of local needs and motivations why someone would move to your rural environment.
4) Establish common diagnostics to confirm initiatives.
A public presentation and discussion shall be organised. This form of a meeting or seminar shall aim at presenting the Welcoming and Attractiveness Policy to the local community and the elected representatives. It will also allow establishing common diagnostics and confirming of (at least one) courses of actions.
5) Produce a baseline document for the preparation of your project.
A baseline document summarising the main idea of the project, explaining how it responds to a need and its set, may always prove helpful for a convincing approach to local authorities and institutions.
6) Establish your first institutional contacts on the local/regional level.
We also recommend you to contact other institutions, such as regional Community Programs administration bodies or Chambers of commerce and industry (CCI).
7) Communicate WIDELY the BACKGROUND idea and pass your initial experience to other rural areas.
The ideal would be to design a network of a number of local areas to promote exchanges and discussions on the possibility of developing Policy to Promote Welcoming and Attractiveness of Rural Areas to mutually share its costs, and also to strengthen up the rural areas' position when discussing the allocation of financial and technical resources at both regional and national level.
II. It is now the time for the Welcoming Policy. Since 2014 the Community Programs must be based on priorities (reasonable, sustainable and inclusive growth) and contribute to the implementation of the common objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. The development of territorial cohesion and rurality may well fit into the framework of these objectives. The government bodies, who are now developing the Regional Operational Programmes (ROP) must assign on of the guidelines for rural development and actions concerning the Welcoming and Attractiveness Policy.
8) Convince your regional and national government bodies of the importance of territorial cohesion at the rural level as a tool to receive funding within the programming period 2014-2020.
The Welcoming and Attractiveness Policy also represents an important tool to cope with the consequences of the economic crisis and to accelerate the economic recovery.
Search for how to fund your Welcoming Policy Project
9) Look for the options offered by the European Social Fund (ESF)
10) Look also for the options offered by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
11) Look also for the options offered by European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
12) Finally, look for the options offered by the New Program for Employment and Social Innovation.
14) Request a consultation on the objectives of the work programs and the potential use of financial resources from European funds - insist and participate
It is responsibility of the government bodies in charge for drawing up the operational programs to provide you advice (following the so-called Partnership Agreement, Common Provision Regulation). Ask for advice and attend various consultative meetings.
15) Write your requirements to include the Welcoming Policy in the operational programs, particularly the regional ones.
Words go but records remain.
And finally, if we had to provide you one single recommendation, that would be the following: DEMAND CLEARLY FROM YOUR REGIONAL AUTHORITIES TO INTEGRATE THE POLICY TO PROMOTE WELCOMING AND ATTRACTIVENESS OF RURAL AREAS IN THEIR NEXT REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2014-2020
You wish to learn more about? Watch this video on the Welcoming Policy!