The European Parliament wants to put greater emphasis on the eradication of regional disparities, supporting rural areas and reducing social inequalities through one of the most important funds of the EU - reported Csaba Sógor, after the European Parliament’s plenary voted on the objectives of the European Social Fund for the budget period of 2021-2027, as well as the increase of budgetary framework.
According to Csaba Sógor, the European Social Fund+ (ESF+) is one of the most important EU support programs for the Hungarian community in Transylvania. As an RMDSZ MEP shadow rapporteur in the LIBE Committee, assigned by EPP, Csaba Sógor has been actively involved in the recent months in developing the fund´s objectives for the next seven years. The document adopted by the EP contains his proposals in several points:
“The majority of the Hungarians in Transylvania live in the countryside, therefore one of our most important tasks is to develop the rural areas and help them catch up. This is the only way of fighting demographic decrease. This was our position in the debate and I am very pleased that more and more people are now seeing the huge disparities not only between regions but also within regions of the EU. This phenomenon must be tackled”- explained Csaba Sógor, who believes that Romanian statistics also confirm the need for support in the rural areas.
According to the National Statistical Office, 45% of Romania´s population lives in rural areas, where the proportion of the population living in poverty or at risk of poverty is 20% higher than in urban areas. “This level of difference within the EU can be observed not only in Romania but in Bulgaria as well”- said the MEP.
It will finally appear among the ESF+ objectives the issue that Csaba Sógor held important: in the EU´s next seven-year financial budget cycle, the ESF+ will provide resources to address the rural poverty phenomenon arising from specific deficiencies in rural areas, such as unfavourable demographic situations, labour market challenges, limited access to education and training or health and social services. Likewise, at the initiative of the representative from Transylvania, educational programs will also be eligible for funding through the ESF+. These programs will allow adults with low levels of skill to have the possibility to acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital competence. The programs will also include initiatives to fight off the worrying phenomenon of early school leaving.