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EU Rural Movements

The rural movements that have developed in Europe over the last 30 years represent an organised approach to providing a network and voice for rural areas, their people and the many organisations working for rural development.

Faced with issues of rural decline, centralising policy, globalisation of markets and European integration, the rural people of many European countries have organised themselves to raise the challenge of a new rural Europe. They work at village, regional, national and international levels to make sure that the voice of the rural people is heard at every level of decision-making. They also work together to build the capacity, confidence and achievements of the local actors in creating a better future for Europe’s many tens of thousands of rural communities.

Because of their high level of organisation, networking and direct relationship with the rural communities, the rural movements represent a significant new voice on the European stage.

Further information

Rural Parliaments
An important tool in the work of the rural movements is the ‘Rural Parliament’, aimed at raising the voice of the rural areas nationally and internationally. Held every two years, it brings together all of the rural players - local, regional and national - to exchange experience and agree the rural policy agenda with which to lobby government. The Swedish model for the Rural Parliament was the first example of this particular type of event, and is still the ‘gold standard’ in Europe. It has inspired and influenced many people in many countries, who have since worked to establish their own versions of the Rural Parliament.

Links to reports and programmes of current Rural Parliaments >

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