Join us in this #EurofoundLive panel debate webinar exploring the latest research findings on the impact of the rural–urban divide in Europe.
Massimiliano Mascherini, Head of Social policies at Eurofound, and Marie Hyland, Research officer in the Social policies unit at Eurofound, will present the latest research findings from Bridging the rural-urban divide: Addressing inequalities and empowering communities on the differences in social, political, cultural, economic and living conditions between rural and urban areas and consider whether such differences may pose a threat to social cohesion in Europe. Michèle Lamont, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, will provide her views and insights into the recognition factor and how that plays out. The debate will be moderated by Mary McCaughey, Head of Information and Communication at Eurofound.
The place in which people reside is a significant component of their identity and influences their daily lives and activities. Eurofound’s research shows that the socioeconomic gaps between rural and urban communities can have profound implications for how rural and urban residents feel. Rural residents are more likely than those in urban areas to feel that they, themselves or their communities, are mistreated, disrespected or ignored by their governments. As a consequence, rural residents have lower levels of trust in their governments and in the European Union, and express lower levels of satisfaction with democracy, than those in urban areas.
On average, incomes are higher in urban areas than in rural areas, and the rural–urban income gap has increased by approximately 19% over the past decade. But this average increase masks the fact that rural–urban inequalities in income have been falling in some Member States, including Germany and the Netherlands. Gaps in the provision of public services between rural and urban areas are also increasing. Declining and ageing populations pose challenges to future service provision, especially in rural areas. However, across Member States, there are many examples of innovative solutions providing public services to those living in remote areas.
Research has highlighted in particular the growing divide between northern and southern EU Member States and has called for an upgrade to the 'convergence machine' - the EU territorial convergence policies, placing an increased focus on lagging rural regions.
Join us in this timely debate with our experts on why understanding and addressing the rural-urban divide in Europe is crucial ahead of the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, and to several EU national parliaments.