Migrants and refugees are increasingly conceiving european rural areas as places to develop temporarily or permantly, their life projects. From the local communities where reception initiatives are taking place, mobile population is perceived as a potential solution to revitalise rural areas and counter depopulation. In an attempt to overcome utilitarian views of migration, while recognising its impacts, much of the current discourse is based on partial solutions and laks to focus on the contributions of all the inhabitants, despite their national background, to territorial sustainability.
Undeniably, the processs of inclusion into the labour market, the access to adequate housing or the social and political participation often remains a challenge to newcomers. The particularities in the provision of health or education services in rural areas, and the local attempts to overcome them, highlight the importance of unfolding co-created cultural codes, as well as improve the language-based understanding between their inhabitants. Thus, a focused, integrated approach is needed to provide tailored support and interventions that address the unique issues people face when settling or remaining in non-urban areas.
Although rural regions are commonly viewed as offering limited employment prospects, targeted upskilling, reskilling, and microfinance can unlock potential in sectors like agri-food, renewable energies, care services, tourism, and gastronomy. Achieving not just labour market insertion but also social inclusion requires establishing spaces for social interaction and support networks within local communities.
This Community Group aims to place the specific needs, challenges, and opportunities of migrants and refugees in rural areas on political agendas. The objective is to build on existing work conducted relevant actors, projects (e.g. Welcoming spaces) and networks, facilitating the exchange of experiences, actions, and joint planning.
Objectives of the Community Group
- Objective 1: Establish a European Community to consolidate existing networks and stakeholders focused on the emplacement of migrants and refugees in rural settings.
- Objective 2: Increase awareness and encourage the exchange of social interventions and lessons learned, while challenging existing stereotypes about migrants and refugees.
- Objective 3: Advocate for a supportive policy framework that offers integrated solutions to facilitate the emplacement of migrants and refugees in rural areas.
- Objective 4: Promote multi-actor and multi-level partnerships to pool resources, expertise, and networks, thereby enhancing research in this field.