Coordinators’ report

Completing the ERP 2015 campaign.  The final report on the use of the Europe for Citizens grant for the ERP 2015 campaign was submitted on 29 April to the European Commission.   The process of preparing that report was very demanding, because of the detailed records of expenditure and of public participation in the campaign events.   We offer warm thanks to our Swedish partner Hela Sverige ska Leva, which carried the burden as formal applicant for the grant, and particularly to Lena Husen whose hard and detailed work completed the report;  and also to our national partners for their patience in responding to requests for information.   We take pride in the fact – recorded in the report – that a total of over 6,600 people participated in ERP campaign events in a total of 39 countries.   The report will be published on the websites and .

New funding.  At the end of February, we submitted a new application to the Europe for Citizens for a grant of €150,000 towards our 2016-17 Action Programme.   We expect to hear the outcome towards the end of May.  

ERP Steering Group and coordinating team.  The new President of European LEADER Association for Rural Development (ELARD), Kristiina Tammets from Estonia, has replaced her predecessor Radim Srsen on the ERP Steering Group.   The coordinating team has been strengthened by the appointment of Kirsten Birke Lund as Joint Coordinator alongside Vanessa Halhead and Michael Dower.   Kirsten, who lives in Denmark, is a former Vice-president of ELARD.

Hosts for the ERP 2017 Gathering.   The climax of the ERP 2016-17 campaign will be the Third European Rural Parliament, to be held in October or November 2017.   In January 2016, we issued a Call for proposals from national partners to act as host for that event.   Four proposals were received.   The Steering Group has shortlisted two of these, from Kodukant in Estonia and Landelijke Vereniging voor Kleine Kernen in the Netherlands.   The coordinating team will visit the two countries in late May for detailed discussion with the two organisations.   The Steering Group expects to meet in mid-June to decide which country should host the event. We are very grateful to the four partners for submitting these proposals.

Action programme.   We have now received, from the ERP 2015 national champions, the response to our questionnaire based on the draft ERP2016-17 Action Programme.   We asked each of them to say which projects in the draft programme would appeal to them.   There is a high level of interest in many of the possible projects.   We are now in process of bringing these ideas together, in order to propose to the Steering Group and to the national partners which projects should receive priority.   We expect to announce the prioritised Action Programme in June.
Vanessa Halhead, Kirsten Birke Lund and Michael Dower
ThiSustainable forest management.  The workshop on sustainable forest management, announced in the last newsletter and organized by Forum Synergies, took place in southwest England in mid-March.   30 participants from 10 European countries enjoyed a field visit to a major private woodland in Exmoor National Park and to a local sawmill (see photograph).  They received case studies of forest management from many countries, and debated the approach to sustainable forest management.   A report on the workshop will soon be published on Forum Synergies website, .   Further workshops are already being planned, to take place in Serbia in October 2016 and (provisionally) in Sweden in May 2017.   Other regions within Europe may be covered by subsequent workshops.   If you are interested to take part in one of the future workshops, please write to Gwil Wren, e-mail
Immigrants to rural areas.  On 26 and 27 April 2016, the German Rural Network Unit together with the Agency Südwestfalen hosted a workshop in Arnsberg (Sauerland) focused on the medium- and long-term perspective for migration into rural areas.   The aim of the workshop was to develop concrete solutions related to the integration of immigrants in rural areas.   Information from Moritz Kirchesch, Deutsche Vernetzungsstelle Ländliche Räume, Tel. +49 (0)2 28 68 45 39 68

LEADER and CLLD.  The European Association for Rural Ddevelopment (ELARD), a co-initiator of the European Rural Parliament, is launching a questionnaire survey among its members to collect information about needs and problems of Local Action Groups in implementing LEADER and Community Led Local Development (CLLD).   This will form an input for ELARD’s policy work, and for the ELARD 2020+ conference to be held in November 2016.

Czech LEADERfest.   On 8 to 10 June 2016, the Czech National Network of Local Action Groups will hold the LEADERfest at the renowned Charles Fountain spa in the Moravian-Silesian Region.   This will be a national meeting of representatives of Local Action Groups with a cultural and professional programme, including many examples of good practice from the Czech Republic and other countries, plus debate on the future of the LEADER programme.   International participants are welcome – see   Facebook

Events in Lithuania.  The Lithuanian Rural Communities Union welcome international participants at two events this year – the Rural Communities Gathering, to be held 17 to 19 June at a seaside location with an expected 1500 people from all parts of Lithuania;  and the big Community fair in Vilnius on 3 September 2016.   Information from Virginija Setkiene, e-mail
Western Balkans and Turkey.  A group of national rural organisations in the Western Balkans and in Turkey – all but one of whom are national partners in the European Rural Parliament campaign –have made a successful bid for funding under the European Commission’s Civil Society Facility Programme.   Led by the Serbian Rural Development Network, they sought support for a programme of capacity-building, networking and advocacy by six Western Balkan rural development networks (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) and the Development Foundation of Turkey.   In further links to the ERP ‘family’, the co-partners in the programme include PREPARE, represented by the Latvian Rural Forum, and the Croatian Rural Development Network.

The programme is entitled ALTER (Active Local Territories for Economic development of Rural Areas).   The European Commission will provide €1.1million as 90% funding of the programme, spread over the next 40 months.   This initiative will help greatly to strengthen the capacity of the partner networks to manage their work in a professional way, to secure long-term financial stability, to undertake training and advocacy, and to act as intermediary bodies implementing community level development and strengthening participatory approaches.   It reflects the call, made in article 24 of the European Rural Manifesto, upon governments and the European institutions to “support the activities of NGOs and their networks”.

Participants from EU and Western Balkan countries on a travelling Workshop in Serbia, April 2014
ERP2016 Newsletter 7 0516


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European Rural Parliament · Braehead, Highland · Cromarty, Scotland UK IV11 8YQ · United Kingdom

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