With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people living in depressed industrial areas.
People living in depressed industrial areas face a number of challenges. As many industries in these areas have closed down, unemployment rates remain high. Local residents have problems finding new jobs and sometimes need to move away in search of better job prospects. In addition, unemployed workers do not necessarily have the skills to take up new jobs.
Furthermore, de-industrialised areas often face the challenge of turning over-sized derelict buildings and polluted sites into revitalised spaces of economic creativity. These areas have to deal with serious environmental issues owing to the legacy left behind by heavy industry. Various tasks, such as land reclamation, decontamination and the building of innovative infrastructure, cannot only be covered financially by local resources and may require additional national or European support.
The EU plays an active role in helping people in all EU areas to improve their living conditions through the European structural and investment funds. These funds enable considerable attention to be paid to re-training people to acquire new skills in order to be able to find new jobs. They can also help to boost innovation, new technologies, the sustainable management of natural resources, investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and support for small and medium-sized companies. EU funding has also paved the way for re-generation and industrial renovation projects.
- EPRS Briefing, Harnessing globalisation for local and regional authorities – Challenges and possible solutions, 2017, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2017/608723/EPRS_BRI(2017)608723_EN.pdf
- Regional Strategies for Industrial Areas, European Parliament, 2013, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/note/join/2013/495848/IPOL-REGI_NT(2013)495848_EN.pdf
- EPRS Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/EPRS/Funding_Guide.pdf