Newsletter 11 February 2016
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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

Translation of Manifesto

The European Rural Manifesto can now be found on the ERP website - – in 27 European languages! The most recent additions include Belarusian, Bulgarian, Czech, Bosnian, and Turkish versions.


The Bulgarian national partner, Society for Territorial and Environmental Prosperity (STEP), has undertaken wide distribution of the Manifesto through its Website and Facebook.   The national radio “Hristo Botev”, in its show “The Taste of Wine”, described the 30 elements in the Manifesto.   A mid-November meeting of LAG Coordinators and National Rural Network (NRN) members received information about the European Rural Parliament.   The NRN carried an article about the Rural Parliament in its November Newsletter and placed the Manifesto on its Facebook page, which has attracted many comments.   The Manifesto has been sent to the Minister of Agriculture and to the Agriculture Committee of the national Parliament.


In December, the LEADER Network in Greece realised an open presentation of the European Rural Manifesto in Patras, organized by the national rural network and the Local Action Group of Achaia.


Pro Cooperare Regională, the ERP national partner in Moldova, organised in December a conference on the topic "Perspectives for development of rural areas in Moldova and LEADER approach", attended by more than 60 participants (NGOs, local authorities, school managers and others).   The European Rural Manifesto was given to all participants in the conference, and has also been sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and to all the own partner organisations of Pro Cooperare Regională.

Workshop on sustainable forest management

17-20 March 2016, South West England

Forum Synergies, an international ERP partner, invites ERP partners and members of our network to take part in the first of a series of four international workshops on different aspects of sustainable forest management.  
This first workshop will be held at Milverton, Somerset, England 17 to March 2016.   The aim is to raise awareness of the different services provided by sustainable forest management.   Subsequent workshops – to be held in Germany, Sweden and France – will focus on forest management as an element in rural development;  the role of rural communities in managing woodlands;  and practical aspects of sustainable forest management.   The aim of the series is to increase the capacity of individuals, NGOs, local and EU governments to deliver forest management that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.  
There is no fee for attending the Workshop.   Meals and overnight accommodation will be funded by Forum Synergies and the local host organisation.   Participants are asked to pay for their travel to and from Somerset.   The organisers may be able to make a contribution to these travel costs, where participants have good reason to ask for such help.   The nearest international airport is Bristol.   Registration for the event closes on 20 February.  
If you would like details of the workshop in England, please contact Simone Matouch of Forum Synergies, tel +43 4716 20015, e-mail:
Copyright © 2016 European Rural Parliament, All rights reserved.

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