Ambassador Francois Saint-Paul about the importance of using structural funds to allow Romania properly developing its rural areas
The French Ambassador to Romania Francois Saint-Paul has participated on Wednesday in the 5th edition of 'European meetings in Transylvania' organized at the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (USAMV) of Cluj-Napoca (northwest of Bucharest). He spoke about the importance of using structural funds to allow Romania properly developing its rural areas.
The diplomat explained that France also faced a strong migration of people from villages to towns in the 1930s, just as Romania experiences today, and he stressed that rural development is still a delicate issue for several European countries.
'One of the main challenges to Romania's rural areas is the mobilization of structural funds, which should help the development; not just the infrastructure, but also the economy sectors. Collaboration with regional development agencies is paramount. Rural development and a better use of these European funds cannot be guaranteed, however, without a strong, professional and efficient public administration, especially on local level. That's why I think that increasing the administrative capabilities should remain a priority,' the ambassador said.
He mentioned that meetings of experts such as the 'European meetings in Transylvania', supported by the French Embassy in Bucharest, are useful to allow them trying to answer some vital questions for the future of their countries.
Within the context of deep changes in the population and of growing migration of active people from rural to urban areas, the issue is to find solutions to encourage youth staying in their regions and countries, and to provide them opportunities of developing profitable activities that could result in better life and jobs.
USAMV Rector Doru Pamfil mentioned Romania's unique feature among European countries - having a high proportion of rural areas. He pointed out, however, that some areas of the country are increasingly depopulated, and thus remain inactive.
He explained that - as the European Union comes up with solutions like installation aids up to 75,000 euros for young farmers, that is for youth wishing to open farms - experts should contribute with solutions aiming at education and raising the living standards.