Pressing global challenges, such as economic and demographic structural change, are undoubtedly tasks that we must address at all levels. Because the consequences of global developments manifest themselves in concrete form in communities, and it is here that they can be mastered most appropriately. And so it is up to the local and regional levels to take action here.
The key to success in tackling the multiplicity of challenges lies in cooperation. The need is for regional collaborative schemes that include towns and cities as well as their rural hinterlands. Ideally, maximum cooperation should also involve minimum institutionalization. The first step is thus to develop and trial suitable organizational structures. Both urban and rural areas must be aware of the fact that their inherent strengths and potential can most effectively result in focused development strategies if they are combined. It is thus imperative that urban and rural areas enter into an even more intensive dialogue, and that they do so on an equal footing.
In Germany, the Federal Government's and Federal States' spatial planning policy is pursuing the "large-scale community of responsibility" approach, and there are good reasons for it doing so. This approach is designed to encourage cooperative partnerships between cities and rural areas in order to make the region as a whole more competitive and to improve people's living conditions.
Supporting such urban-rural partnerships is also a major task of European spatial development policy. In 2011, the European ministers responsible for spatial/regional planning jointly advocated balanced and efficient spatial development in order to make the regions more attractive and liveable for the population. Urban-rural partnerships can also make a major contribution to this.
By staging the European conference entitled "Urban. Rural. Europe. Strengthening Partnerships", we want to discuss this issue in depth and also evolve it in relation to European funding. I would like to invite you to attend this event.
Dr Peter Ramsauer, Member of the German Bundestag
Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development
European Conference: Urban. Rural. Europe. Strengthening partnerships
June 19th, 2012
Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, Berlin, Germany
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