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Social aspects

Social Inclusion and Rural Poverty

Some 14 % of the population in the EU’s predominantly rural regions suffers from employment rates of less than half the EU average, and there are areas of low per-capita GDP. As such, EU rural development policy provides essential tools for helping Member States to encourage rural employment, tackle rural poverty, address social exclusion and improve the quality of life in rural areas. These objectives reflect the EU’s Europe 2020 growth strategy.

The EU 2020 Strategy highlights the importance of supporting schemes which help eliminate labour market and social inclusion barriers, in particular for the most vulnerable groups of women, young people, older workers, groups of minority ethnic origin and the disabled. These schemes include among other things support for education and lifelong learning opportunities, modern transport and ICT infrastructure, plus improved access to essential services.

Rural Development Programmes play an important role in promoting a more inclusive society and making rural areas a better place to live.

For further information about EU rural development, employment and social inclusion see Issue 6 of the EU Rural Review.