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(Re)building rural civic empowerment

Rural citizens must benefit, like any others, from equitable conditions to achieve their professional, social, and personal goals. This is a moral obligation to which we are obliged as a society. It is also an ethical and political imperative if we are genuinely engaged in accomplishing the European Pillar of Social Rights. A strong social Europe that is just, inclusive, and with plenty of opportunities along its green and digital transitions, cannot leave anyone behind.

Do more than belong: participate!

From the local to supranational scale, the Covid-19 crisis forced the world to face the question: who should oversee the solutions? Which authority, and on what ground? This question, and the change of paradigm it brought, is an opportunity to debate and reflect on the place of citizens in the decision-making process, especially in places far from power centres, such as rural areas. Examples of citizens’ participation in rural areas, from successful and less successful strategies to the place of the public sector at the local and European levels in community-led development, can show the way.

Rural remoteness in Nordic countries – many contradictions to solve

Being remote in the Nordic region can mean a lot of things. There are some counter-narratives to the dominating narrative of depopulation and ageing. These involve people’s shift in lifestyle priorities and also the effects of the green transition that may set the scene for a decade of making the periphery less remote. However, decisions on service provisions challenge the revitalisation of communities. The welfare society in the Nordic region faces many complex issues – one of them is the need for a radical change of perspectives and policy for rural and remote communities.

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