RURAL 2020 - 04/05/17

Conference - 4 May 2017 - Brussels

Rural post 2020 : more ambitious, more transversal!

Adopting a European Rural Agenda would bring greater coherence and efficiency to European policies and instruments for rural areas after 2020 - this was the main conclusion of the conference held by the European Committee of the Regions' Commission for Natural Resources (NAT), and the Rurality-Environment-Development (RED) international association in Brussels on 4 May 2017. 

170504-salle.jpgFacilitated by Patrice Collignon, R.E.D. Director, the meeting was opened by Guillaume Cros, Vice-President of the Regional Council of Occitanie and European Committee of the Regions rapporteur on the Future of the CAP after 2020. Guillaume Cross presented his proposals for the future rural development policy in the following terms: "...Adopting a Rural Agenda would enable all European policies, structural policies in particular, to contribute to the development of rural areas as a priority".

Gérard Peltre, R.E.D. President, called for rural areas to be recognised as being of vital importance to the EU , illustrating how adopting the Rural Agenda would provide a response to the urban-rural imbalance and strengthen rural-agricultural cooperation: "Including the sustainable, integrated development of our diverse rural areas as a major ambition of a European Rural Agenda would serve to harness their potential in meeting Europe's present and future challenges, meeting the territorial cohesion objective and fostering initiatives by local actors".

Speakers from Finland and Canada contributed their experience with implementing rural proofing, as proposed in the Cork Declaratio

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Mihael Dumitru, Deputy Director-General at DG Agriculture, Czeslaw Siekierski (EPP/PL), Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Mathieu Fichter, responsible for rural development within Commissioner Corina Crețu's cabinet, and Sofia Björnsson, rapporteur for the European Economic and Social Committee's opinion "From Cork 2.0 Declaration to concrete actions" have participated at the debate gathering all the entities of the European institutions.

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All the speakers noted a lack of political and financial commitment to recognising rural areas, although these same areas represent a solution for restoring the European venture's power of attraction. Many voices, including those of the European Parliament's RUMRA intergroup and of numerous national and regional authorities, had already spoken out in support of the call made in 2015 by the European Countryside Movement for a European Rural Agenda at the heart of EU policy after 2020. Many speakers also expressed their interest in the proposal for a European Rural Agenda, supporting this initiative that seeks to build the rural dimension into all European policies.

Photos : G. Peltre, Cz.Siekierski, S. Björnsonn, M. Fichter, M. Dumitru, G. Cros et P. Collignon 

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