The 3rd European Rural Parliament, was held on 19-21 October 2017 in the Village of Venhorst, in North Brabant Province, the Netherlands. It involved 278 participants from 40 countries, European networks and the European Commission, plus many local people from the region. It was the climax of the 2016-17 activity and launch pad for future work. The 3-day event comprised a full day of field visits to the surrounding communities and 2 days of workshops, plenaries, debates and networking. It was also live-streamed. The resulting Manifesto and Declaration, were widely circulated in 40 countries and European institutions, and form the basis for advocacy.

The Gathering was hosted by ERP partner Landelijke Vereniging voor Kleine Kernen LVKK (National Association of Small Towns) and its provincial partner Vereniging Kleine Kernen Noord-Brabant VKKNB (North Brabant Association of Small Towns). The event was supported by many provincial and local organisations and by local and student volunteers. Funding for the event was from the EU Europe for Citizens Programme, the Netherlands Ministry of Internal Affairs, the province of North Brabant and the municipality of Boekel.

North Brabant is not only truly rural but also very successful and remarkable for its high-tech agro-food and other industries, also its self-supporting communities. This provided an unusual and inspirational context for the participants and discussions.

The 3rd ERP carried forward the actions from the 2015 Manifesto, reporting on the 6 thematic projects, running workshops on the other Manifesto themes and holding plenary discussions on our future strategy. It provided the stage for an updated debate about the state of rural areas in the wider Europe and the policy challenges and opportunities which must be faced in the coming decade.  This provided the foundation for agreeing an updated 2017 European Rural Manifesto and the Venhorst Declaration, the main political outputs from the event and the 2016-17 activities, and the basis for future advocacy.

This was a lively, inspiring and involving event, well attended by our National Partners and others from the 40 countries involved in the ERP, and by institutions involved in rural development at European level. This was fertile ground for sharing experience and debating future needs and resolutions.  The results of the 3rd European Rural Parliament provide the foundation for taking the Campaign into its 4th phase of activity, cementing the growing partnership of national and European partners, and raising the profile of the rural people of Europe.

All reports, programme and photos can be found in the Library.

Links to associated documents:

Here you can obtain the last press-releases: please download, translate it to your language and forward it to your press!


Venhorst Declaration and ERP Manifesto in other languages: