A fair deal for rural communities throughout Europe

Rural people from 40 nations will gather in Austria 4-6 November to demand a fair deal for rural communities throughout Europe. 

The second European Rural Parliament, to be held at Schärding in Austria, is the climax of a year-long campaign in 40 European countries to find out what rural people think about their living conditions.   The aim of the campaign, launched by three leading European rural networks, is to strengthen the voice of rural people, to ensure that their interests are reflected in national and European policies, and to promote self-help and cooperation among rural communities.

The three-day Parliament, attended by 250 people from 40 countries, will debate the main themes arising from the campaign, and will adopt a European Rural Manifesto setting out an ambitious agenda of policy and action to be pursued over the next few years. 

Advance papers for the Rural Parliament record:

  • The high concern of people in many rural region about the narrowness of rural economies, the lack of good jobs, loss of population as young people move away, decline in rural services, the suffering of older people, poverty and social exclusion among disadvantaged people and ethnic minorities.
  • The right of rural communities to a quality of life and standard of living equal to that of urban populations, and to full participation in political processes
  • A vision for the future of vibrant, inclusive and sustainable rural communities, supported by diversified rural economies and by effective stewardship of landscapes and cultural heritage.

The Rural Parliament will call for a new, innovative partnership between rural people and governments, in order to reverse the spiral of decline in many rural areas; to enable young people to find a good life in the countryside; to tackle poverty and exclusion; and to build a positive future for millions of small and family farms and rural enterprises.  

Two issues to be addressed by the Rural Parliament – climate change and refugees – are highly topical.   

In the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, rural areas can play a major role in combatting climate change and sustaining environmental resources.  Over 40 percent of Europe’s land is in forests, which can capture carbon and yield renewable resources of raw material.  Rural areas are well placed to meet the growing demand for renewable energy from wind, hydro, solar, heat exchange and woodfuel sources.

The current wave of desperate people from Africa and the Middle East, seeking refuge and new lives in Europe, is provoking thought and action within rural communities.  Many rural areas, particularly those with declining population, may be well placed to welcome refugees and other newcomers.  But the welcoming process must include the necessary investment in housing, services, infrastructure and job creation. 

The European Rural Parliament campaign in Bulgaria was organised by  the Society for Territorial and Environmental Prosperity (STEP).  


Society for territorial and environmental prosperity (STEP)

Vyara Stefanova, Tel. +359898563647, e-mail: step_ngo@abv.bg

www. step-bg.bg

 Joint Coordinators, European Rural Parliament 2015

Michael Dower (PREPARE)   Tel +44 1308 863515, e-mail mdower6@btinternet.com     

Vanessa Halhead (ERCA)   Tel +44 1381 600736,  e-mail vanessa@duthchas.org.uk

PROJECTS4 (Organisers in Austria)

Thomas Müller   Tel +43.664.2214269, e-mail mueller@projects4.info

Lizé Grimbeek   Tel +43.660.2711210, e-mail grimbeek@projcts4.info