This week our Hon President, Vanessa Halhead, represented the European Rural Parliament ERP in Brussels at the advocacy meetings, following the 5th ERP Gathering. This takes place after every biennial Gathering. The advocacy team included 7 members of the ERP Steering Group and, for the first time, 7 from the ERP youth coordinators were included in the team. During these meetings the team worked on spreading our 5th ERP Declaration and Manifesto and establishing new contacts and collaborations and gathering new information.
The group met with some of the key players in rural affairs in the European Commission, Parliament and Swedish Presidency:
- European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
- EU CAP network
- Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO)
- RUMRA and smart villages intergroup from the European Parliament at the Commission
- Cabinet of Ms Ylva Johansson - Home Affairs
- Cabinet of Ms Elisa Ferreira - Cohesion and Reforms
- Cabinet of the Vice-President Ms Dubravka Suica - Democracy and Demography
- Cabinet of Mr Janusz Wojciechowski - Agriculture
- Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI)
- European Committee of Regions (CoR) - Mr Serafino Nardi, NAT Commission, Head of Unit; Mr Klaus Boele, NAT Commission Administrator; Mr Radim Sršeň, NAT Commission, CoR rapporteur on " Targets and tools for a smart rural Europe" Opinion
- The Swedish Representation, Ms Jeanette B. Lund - Economic Policy Council.
Some important reoccurring themes were:
- cross-sectoral, multilevel governance as means to make real change and avoid conflicts in the process
- civil society - ERP - as main partners to the institutions in order to make the Long Term Vision of Rural Areas reality
- real inclusion of youth in the decision-making processes - not only ”listen to youth”, but include them as real partners throughout the process
Some main themes discussed were:
- Long Term Vision for Rural Area and the Rural Pact
- The new EU CAP Network
- Smart Villages
- Integration and Migration
- Earmarking for CLLD and rural development
- Civil society in rural development
Rural youth's key points were:
- Empower the next generation of youth living in rural areas to develop their own opportunities and quality of life. Young people can offer different ways of management and new proposals. If not, they will have to deal with the consequences of decisions that they have not taken.
- Youth is interested in having an active role in policy-making processes. It is not enough to listen to young people; they need to be inside the decision-making space. If not, we will have to deal with the consequences of decisions that we have not taken
- Enable local democracy to empower local communities in handling their resources
- Establish remote work as a working model
- Youth engagement should start already in schools with informal politics, institutions need to get more accessible, and institutions need to get more access by proposing informal politics
- Create an intergeneration mentorship program in rural communities, where the mentor shows best practices, supports and then develops and deepens rural youth skills
You can find the entire agenda and more information about the trip here, with a report forthcoming.