A VOICE FOR THE RURAL PEOPLE IN EUROPE
The Swedish Rural Parliament, held in Ronneby September 6-9, was the focus for a development of European significance. The merger of two pan-European rural networks, the European Rural Alliance and European Rural Community Association will pave the way for a major network to enable the voice of rural people from across Europe to reach policy makers in Brussels. It will also enable the thousands of rural communities across Europe to forge links and share their experiences of making rural development work.
The European networks also pledged to initiate the first European Rural Parliament, to take place within the next 2 years. This will provide a direct link to politicians and policy makers at European and also national levels. Staffan Bond, General Manager of Swedish Village Movement ‘Hela Sverige skal leva’ said: “I am glad we decided to merge the two networks. Unity gives power! The great support for a European Rural Parliament makes another important step possible. I hope we can have the first European Rural Parliament in Brussels late autumn 2013 backed up by MEPs from several countries. Dedicated Swedish MEPs already invited us to a preparatory meeting”.
Speaking of these significant achievements, Eero Uusitalo, President of the European Rural Alliance said: “Rural affairs are complex with so many interest groups, that we must build a European rural voice and policy, step by step. If we want to go forward, which we do, we need a common platform for handling our common European rural affairs and issues. This will enable us to benefit from the knowledge from experiences everywhere in Europe, and to influence politically. The EU needs a real rural partner, because we must improve, together, the EU tools for rural development.”
Bert Broekhuis, President of the European Rural Community Alliance said: “Rural areas are made up of many types of people and many types of employment, and rural policy must reflect that if we are to continue to have vibrant rural communities. We welcome the involvement of all rural interests and actors in this network, but we stand for the broad interests of rural areas. The new organisation is a partner to the EU and to the national governments, and we look forward to our future co-operation.”
NOTES FOR THE EDITOR
The European Rural Community Association is the network for the national and regional rural movements of Europe to share and strengthen their work and to raise the voice from the rural communities.
Contact for information: Staffan Bond, 0046-70-5341350
The European Rural Alliance is a platform for co-ordinating and expressing the interests of the rural networks across Europe.