Campaign 2016-17

The third phase of the ERP campaign

September 2016 saw the launch of the third phase of the European Rural Parliament campaign.  We look forward to wide participation in this campaign.

The first phase climaxed with the 1st European Rural Parliament held in Brussels in November 2013.  That first event laid the foundation of our multi-national network.

The second phase extended that network and gathered ideas through Europe.  These ideas were synthesised into the report “ALL Europe shall live”, which in turn provided the basis for the European Rural Manifesto adopted at the 2nd European Rural Parliament held at Scharding in Austriai in November 2015s. I

An agenda for action.  The European Rural Manifesto has been translated into 27 European languages and widely distributed.   It represents our agenda for advocacy and action at European, national, regional and local level.  The beliefs expressed in the European Rural Manifesto formed the starting-point for the third phase of work, which will climax in the   3rd European Rural Parliament to be held 19-21 October 2017 at the village of Venhorst in North Brabant Province, Netherlands.  

The ERP 2016-17 campaign

The aim of the ERP 2016-17 campaign is to build on the widespread consensus reflected in the report “ALL Europe shall live” and the European Rural Manifesto.   During 2016, we consulted our national partners about the way ahead.   We secured a €150,000 grant from the European Commission’s Europe for Citizens fund.   Together with our own resources, this enabled us to launch this third phase in the European Rural Parliament campaign.   The main elements in this phase are a growing number of National Rural Parliaments;  a series of Thematic projects;  and the 3rd  European Rural Parliament in October 2017.

National Rural Parliaments.   National rural parliaments, pioneered by Sweden and others since the 1990s, are already a major feature in some countries.  The year starting in October 2016 will see a larger number of national rural parliaments than any previous year.  The year began with the Scottish Rural Parliament in October 2016 and that in Slovakia in November.  For 2017, rural parliaments are planned in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Slovenia, and we expect other countries to follow.  The outputs from these events will go forward to the 3rd European Rural Parliament.  

Multi-national thematic projects.  The campaign includes a series on multi-national thematic projects, each reflecting one major element in the European Rural Manifesto.  The projects will have a highly practical focus.  The aim is to gather and disseminate practical ideas which will help rural stakeholders to take action, to build partnerships and to work with governments.  Our network of European and national partners will gather, exchange and synthesise practical ideas from many countries.  We will identify practical solutions, and clarify the factors which enable rural communities and stakeholders to apply those solutions in a manner suited to each locality.  The outputs will include a report, and a series of illustrated case studies, to be published on this website; and presentations at the 3rd European Rural Parliament


The programme of multi-national thematic projects is expected to focus on the following themes:

  • A European Rural Youth Parliament, and provisions for youth in rural areas
  • Welcoming and integrating refugees and economic migrants within rural communities
  • Integrated rural development, and the role of LEADER and Community Led Local Development
  • Tackling poverty and exclusion in rural areas
  • The sustaining of rural services and infrastructure
  • Strengthening local and sub regional economies
  • The well-being of small and family farms
  • The crucial role of small towns, and rural-urban cooperation
  • Climate change and its implications for rural areas
  • Rural development in the western Balkans and the Black Sea region
  • Promotion and support for national rural Parliaments.
  • Leadership in rural development
  • The role of civil society networks in rural areas
  • Partnership between civil society and governments in rural development.
  • Education in rural areas.