The Network of Sparsely Populated Areas of Southern Europe has shelled before Elena Cebrián, general secretary for the Demographic Challenge of the Government of Spain, their proposals in order to be effective in the fight against depopulation and balance the territories.

This meeting is important for the SSPA, since it involves bringing needs and proposing solutions to the central government, specifically to a person on whom the General Directorate of Policies for Depopulation depends and who has been designated by the Vice Presidency for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge.

Elena Cebrián, general secretary for the Demographic Challenge, was accompanied at this meeting by Ignacio Molina, an advisor to her department, while on behalf of the SSPA the delegation was headed by the vice president of CEOE CEPYME Cuenca, Ignacio Villar and the representative of the action group local AGUJAMA, Juan Carlos Escuder, in addition to the general director of FOES, María Ángeles Fernández, and the coordinator of the Network, Sara Bianchi.

The SSPA Network defended before the central government officials the need to carry out policies that will not only serve to change the trend of the provinces of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, designated as Poorly Populated, but also for the rest of the territories that also have problems in this regard. Therefore, a holistic treatment is defended as in the Scottish Highlands, transversal to all sectors of activity, diversifying the economic structure that exists in the rural world.

Position Document

The position document, which was delivered to Elena Cebrián, requests important aspects such as accessibility to basic services, in a displacement equal to or less than 30 minutes, as well as the implementation of policies regarding new information technologies, putting reach of all people, regardless of where they live.

The need to move from words to deeds and to apply forceful measures that give visible results has been emphasized. In this sense, one of the issues most defended by the members of the SSPA network has been State aid for depopulated areas, requesting that they materialize in aid for labor costs of companies, as well as differential tax treatment. Both measures have been claimed by the network for some time, and are reflected in the document "A differentiated taxation is possible."

In addition, the need for practical policies that directly affect the citizen, such as the reduction of administrative burdens for the implementation of economic and business initiatives in sparsely populated areas, as well as the establishment of a package of measures, has been emphasized destined to favor the development of business activities, such as the reduction of the full quota of the main tax figures of workers and companies based in these provinces.

In financial matters, the request is to strengthen the role of credit cooperatives such as rural savings banks so that they can strengthen their services, while in relation to the Environment, it is requested that, as areas that absorb excess emissions from CO2, this factor should be compensated.

The SSPA Network has been meeting with the different public offices in charge of carrying out policies to combat depopulation for years, as a valid entity and working transparently and in collaboration with all public and private actors who share the vision and the objective of reversing the situation of the unpopulated areas of Spain. As Ignacio Villar has transmitted, affirming that “from the SSPA Network we have been working for many years, but now it is time to move from words and promises to deeds, and we hope that it will be done in a consensual and joint way”.

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