MEP Cristina Maestre Martín De Almagro. Credit: Michel CHRISTEN / Copyright: © European Union 2023

Regional Signal

European Parliament urges EU to help develop talent in regions


The European Parliament is urging the EU to help develop talent in the Europe’s neglected regions.

In a new report, approved in Plenary on November 23, the EP called out the problems rural and peripheral areas faces in developing their own talent pools.

Spanish MEP Cristina Maestre Martín De Almagro, the rapporteur responsible, said the report was needed, and it was time for many politicians to acknowledge the damage happening in the EU’s regions.

“This is a report that addresses a reality that exists in numerous regions of Europe… [where] the best-educated young people in history… are forced to leave their land to pursue their professional careers”.

This rural brain drain meant the resources these rural areas were investing in their own development were effectively flowing ” towards more urban and developed areas.”

Focused on regions facing a “talent development trap,” the report highlights the need for proactive strategies to attract and retain skilled individuals, particularly in the face of green and digital transitions.

The report calls for the integration of digital and environmental knowledge in school curricula, in order to prepare the EU workforce for green and digital transitions.

It emphasises the importance of a strategy for vocational education and business-education partnerships, particularly focusing on boosting digital and green skills.

Small businesses (SMEs) are pointed out as vital contributors to the EU’s economy.

The Parliament urges Member States and the Commission to propose measures to help SMEs’ to embrace new innovations that are already on the market. This includes establishing incentives for SMEs to train and improve the skills of their personnel, especially in digital skills.

The report also places a strong emphasis on youth education and training.

It recommends specific projects for the development of initiatives ensuring young people, including those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, can access quality education and work-related training. The call for guaranteed quality apprenticeships and traineeships is central to the Parliament’s vision.

Speaking during the presentation of the report, Irish MEP Seán Kelly, highlighted how many education systems, including Ireland’s, were not suited to recognising and fostering talent in young people.

In line with the green transition, the report acknowledges the potential of the Just Transition Mechanism. It proposes further flexibility in its implementation to support the development and implementation of comprehensive strategies for upskilling and reskilling the labor force.

The Parliament’s report reflects a multifaceted approach to addressing talent development challenges.

As the EU navigates transitions, these measures aim to could open up many more opportunities for the EU’s regions to cooperate with the bloc.