Launch of the ERP 2016 campaign
January has seen the transition from the ERP 2015 campaign to the ERP 2016-17 campaign. The 2015 campaign reached its climax at the ERP Gathering in Schärding in November, and the adoption and publication of the European Rural Manifesto. The 2016-17 campaign will focus on pursuing the ideas set out in the Manifesto.
With the continued and highly appreciated help of Thomas Müller and Lizé Grimbeek of Projects4 (organisers of the Gathering at Schärding) in maintaining the ERP website and uploading ERP 2015 papers, and of Lena Husen at Hela Sverige ska leva in finalising the accounts, we have now almost completed the rounding off of the 2015 campaign. We thank all national champions for their part in this process.
In December, the Steering Group agreed the outline of an ambitious Action Programme for the 2016-17 campaign. This includes :
- Strengthening the structure of the ERP partnership, notably by the formal enlistment of national partners
- A range of potential projects, each focused upon a key paragraph of the European Rural Manifesto
- The intention to hold the Third European Rural Parliament in the autumn of 2017.
In early January, we wrote to all of last year’s national champions to invite them to become formal partners in the 2016-17 campaign; and to state their interest in the range of potential projects set out in the Action Programme. Our message included a Call for Proposals to host the ERP 2017 Gathering, with a request that bids be submitted by 18 March. Responses have already been received from 16 national partners, with a significant degree of interest in potential projects, and three of these partners have indicated that they may submit bids to test the 2017 Gathering.
As soon as we have responses from the majority of potential national partners, the Steering Group will decide upon the priority projects to be pursued in 2016. At that point, we expect to publish the Action Programme on the website. We expect to be able, in April, to choose the host for the ERP 2017 Gathering, so that the early stages of preparation for that event can be put in hand.
Vanessa Halhead and Michael Dower