Job creation in rural communities requires EU budget commitments
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has said that if European heads of state are serious about creating jobs in rural areas as an alternative to falling incomes from farming it is short sighted to take money out of the rural development budget.
Ms de Brún was speaking today in Brussels after a conference organised by the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, with the co-operation of the European Commission.
The conference took place in the European Parliament and was addressed by the Commissioner Fischer Boel and both the Chair of the Agriculture committee and one of the vice presidents of the European Parliament. The conference 'A bid from the countryside' dealt with the vital contribution of the rural economy and three challenges to the rural economy - increasing cohesion, increasing competitiveness and increasing sustainability. Presentations came form Hungary, Belgium, Poland, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Britain, France Denmark, and Italy.
Speaking after the conference Ms de Brún said:
"Some very important points were raised at the conference today, including the need for sustainable development and balanced development between rural and urban areas, the essential role of farmers in caring for rural areas, the importance of the LEADER approach, the need for dedicated policies for women in rural communities, who are more likely to be excluded from employment, job creation and the importance of ICT and particularly broadband access and how the finance talks this week are key to all of that
"Commissioner Boel sees the European Council meeting this week as being decisive for the direction of the European Union for many years to come. She said it was very important that rural development is not sold short in any deal on the Financial Perspectives ( EU Budget for 2007- 2013) and also that we get agreement now.
"One thing is very clear from all that has been said. If European heads of state are serious about creating jobs in rural areas as an alternative to falling incomes from farming it is short sighted to take money out of the rural development budget.
"Speaker after speaker today also emphasised the importance of the bottom up approach. Mrs Maura Walsh, speaking on behalf of ELARD (rural Network for the Mediterranean and Ireland) told how LEADER + in the North of Ireland had had a target to create 1,000 jobs yet had managed to create 800 jobs in the first year alone." ENDS