The European Rural Parliament is a long-term campaign to express the voice of rural people in Europe; and to promote self-help and action by the rural people, in partnership with civil society and governments.
Why is it needed?
200 million people, almost one third of the population of the wider Europe, live in rural areas. They contribute strongly to local, national and European economies. Their social and economic well-being is of crucial importance. They face great challenges, including loss of young people and of rural services in many regions. Their future depends upon vigorous action by the rural communities themselves, and upon well-conceived policies and action by governments at all levels.
The ERP campaign is driven by the belief that the interests of rural communities (i.e. all people who live or work in rural regions) are under-represented in national and European debates and in the shaping of policies and programmes; that rural people themselves have the best understanding of their strengths, opportunities and needs; and that rural communities should be encouraged to take action in pursuit of their own well-being, and to be positive partners of governments at all levels.
What is its aim?
The European Rural Parliament is designed to:
- Strengthen the voice of the rural communities of Europe, and to ensure that the interests and well-being of these communities are strongly reflected in national and European policies
- Promote self-help, common understanding, solidarity, exchange of good practice and cooperation among rural communities throughout Europe.
- Enable rural people to play their full role in addressing the great economic and political challenges which are currently affecting Europe. The European institutions are struggling to face these challenges. They need to connect with the concerns, the aspirations and the energies of European citizens. We wish to help in that process.
What is the process?
The campaign is a 2-year process comprising biennial gatherings, between which the decisions taken are followed up at national and European levels and preparation for the next gathering takes place, identifying key issues through a range of local actions.
Who organises it?
The European Rural Parliament is co-initiated by three pan-European networks:
- European Rural Community Alliance (ERCA)
- Partnership for Rural Europe (PREPARE)
- European LEADER Association for Rural Development (ELARD)
The ERP is a Partnership initiative comprising national rural non-government organisations in 40 European countries and 6 European rural networks. The ERP Gathering brings together all of these partners every 2 years, to debate rural issues and policy.
For full information about the European Rural Parliament, visit the official website: www.europeanruralparliament.com