The Congress adopted a recommendation and a resolution on Europe's rural areas on 19 October 2017. Laurent WEHRLI (Switzerland, ILDG) presented the report on "A better future for Europe’s rural areas". The report sets out the key opportunities and challenges facing Europe’s rural areas. To overcome the challenges of lacking public services and infrastructure, the digital divide, inequalities and the exodus of young people, the report underlines the necessity of fitting local and regional strategies to the local context and capitalising on the assets of rural areas. Andrä RUPPRECHTER, Austrian Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forests, Environment and Water management, presented Austria's "Masterplan" for the development of rural areas. Vanik BERBERIAN, President of the French Association of Rural Mayors, called on elected representatives to think outside the box where rural life was concerned and develop new two-way exchanges between urban and rural areas. Finally, Aicha AIT HADDOU, President of the Municipal council of Azilal, Morocco, and member of the Moroccan parliament, shared her experience as an elected representative of a rural mountain municipality. The Congress calls on local and regional authorities to set up real schemes to develop rural areas, in partnership with all development actors. The Congress asks the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to invite national authorities to devise new policies to support rural development, adapted to the specific features of rural areas.