The European Seminar on the Future of Intermediate Local Authorities was held in Toulouse on November, 14th with the participation of a technical representative of European projects from the Provincial Council of Valencia (Vice-presidency of Partenalia), a political representative of the Provincial Council of Castellón and a representative of European Projects, Pau Ferrando Tárrega, and a representative of the association of Walloon provinces and Provincial Deputy of Brabant-Wallon, Marc Bastin.
As President of Partenalia and Vice-President of the European Confederation of Intermediate Local Authorities (CEPLI), Manuel Baltar, insisted on the “rurality" of most of the European territory, "a sign of identity that must strengthen our policies in favour of the rural environment, promoting sustainability transition projects, integral attention to ageing and to the demographic challenge, "intelligent development" of territories, food quality and egalitarian and inclusive initiatives".
In the meeting with his European counterparts, Manuel Baltar defended the model of provincial councils in Spain and the integration of the provinces into the European administrative landscape, "territories that have been playing a leading role in the European Union as managers of European funds, which makes the existence of a network of transversal, democratic and direct cooperation between European Intermediate Local Authorities such as Partenalia more necessary ".
Baltar further insisted on the necessity of " the local versus the global", defending "specific policies and projects adapted to the territory, against proposals that up to now have applied generalised solutions to issues that must be analysed from the perspective of people's needs". Hence," he said, "the importance for the "European Rural Agenda" to have, a Europea-wide strategy that values what distinguishes us in each village, region and province, to unite us in the common objective of strengthening the roots of our origins: the rural environment from which we come. In the same way, he defended "including the demographic challenge in rural areas in the European agenda", Baltar, thus, considers it "indispensable to promote the differentiating endogenous resources in order to tackle this challenge and so that they are made part of a global strategy of development, mainly in rural areas".
"It is a about having a positive outlook on the potential of rural areas, hence the need for a European Rural Agenda that serves as an instrument for developing an innovative, coherent and integrated policy to revitalise rural territories by opting for investments and models that generate added value".
As other panellists have pointed out, the missions implemented by local intermediate authorities are necessary in order to maintain cohesion, especially in struggling areas, where cohesion funds are particularly useful. The principles of proximity, solidarity, subsidiarity and cohesion must be put into practice. Intermediate local authorities must guarantee these principles within the system, and it is necessary to find solutions that generate multiplier effects for greater local dynamism.
Finally, the panellists all concurred that Local Intermediate authorities not only manage their own interests but also participate in the management of global interests, which is why local solutions must be found to problems that require global solutions.