Poverty and Social Exclusion in Rural Areas
This study analyzes the main features of poverty and social exclusion in rural areas as well as policies that have an impact on rural poverty. The study suggests that it would be useful to harmonize definitions of rurality used in the European Union (EU). It also makes the following policy suggestions:
- Considering rurality as a relative concept and defining thresholds based on national level variables would help take into account the heterogeneity of EU member states;
- Specific features of rural areas need to be considered, with reference to elements characterizing poverty and those related to social exclusion;
- Heterogeneity of rural areas in the EU makes the application of the subsidiarity principle and an open method of co-ordination seem appropriate;
- Social inclusion policies should contain a rural dimension, and rural development policies should include social inclusion goals.
To decrease poverty and avoid the risk of exclusion, government policies should focus on human capital investment and infrastructure. Recommendations include a focus on education and infrastructure, agricultural training, information and communication technology and effective labor market policies.