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Candidates for the European Parliament Share Their Views on Rural Development – Petri Rinne

As the European Parliament elections approach, candidates are voicing their perspectives on crucial issues affecting the continent. One of the significant areas of focus is rural development, which impacts a substantial portion of the EU population. Today, we feature a statement from Mr. Petri Rinne, a candidate for the European Parliament from Finland.

Mr. Petri Rinne’s Statement on Rural Development

“These elections are crucial for rural areas. The expected big victory of far-right parties stems from political neglect of many rural areas and small towns in the EU. 20% of the EU population lives in rural areas, and 40% live in intermediate areas. We need tools like LEADER more than ever to make the EU visible in rural areas and at the grassroots level. This is why far-right parties are starting to hate and challenge LEADER, at least here in Finland, claiming it is too expensive and an inefficient misuse of public funds.”

Mr. Rinne emphasizes the importance of the LEADER program, an EU initiative aimed at supporting rural development projects initiated at the local level to revitalize rural communities. The program has faced criticism, particularly from far-right parties in Finland, who argue that it is an inefficient use of public resources. However, proponents like Mr. Rinne believe that such tools are essential to bridge the gap between rural areas and urban centers, ensuring that rural communities receive the attention and support they need.

The Importance of Rural Development in the EU

Rural areas in the EU are home to 20% of its population, while another 40% reside in intermediate areas. These communities often face unique challenges, including limited access to services, economic opportunities, and infrastructure. Ensuring their development and sustainability is vital for the overall prosperity and cohesion of the EU.

Key Challenges:

  • Economic Decline: Many rural areas suffer from declining industries, leading to unemployment and outmigration.
  • Infrastructure Gaps: Insufficient transportation and digital infrastructure hinder connectivity and growth.
  • Service Accessibility: Limited access to healthcare, education, and other essential services affects the quality of life.


  • Local Development Initiatives: Programs like LEADER empower local communities to identify and address their unique needs.
  • Sustainable Agriculture: Promoting sustainable farming practices can boost local economies and preserve the environment.
  • Digitalization: Expanding broadband access can open new economic and social opportunities for rural residents.

Call to Action: Supporting Rural Development

As Mr. Rinne highlights, it’s crucial to join forces to make rural areas stronger and more vibrant. Organizations like PREPARE (Partnership for Rural Europe) encourage other candidates to share their views and propose solutions for the future of rural areas.

For more insights into the challenges and opportunities for rural areas in the EU, read the EU Observer Article: EU Observer Article.

Support the campaign for European rural areas: Support European Rural Areas – An Initiative for Change.

By fostering a dialogue and implementing effective policies, the European Parliament can play a pivotal role in ensuring that rural areas across the EU thrive and contribute to the continent’s overall success.