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Network Definitions and Diversity

National Rural Networks – the diversity of approaches

Approaches to rural networking in the EU vary significantly and in the current programme period of 2007-2013 a relatively uneven landscape of network development has emerged. All of the Member States have established National Rural Networks (NRNs), as required by EAFRD Regulation No. 1698/2005. However, the findings of the NRN Mapping Exercise[PDF ] conducted in 2011 by the ENRD, show that the structures created to animate the NRNs display considerable variation in terms of:

  • Structure and operational set-up;
  • Budget;
  • Network and operational mandate;
  • Participation and representation.

The huge diversity of the EAFRD-funded rural networks can be a little confusing when encountered for the first time. There are so many different network structures, forms of governance, thematic priorities and activities! However, this diversity of implementation has also created a diversity of practical experiences and learning opportunities – many of which are captured and further explored in this Tool-kit.

Further information on the individual NRNs can be found via the interactive map here.


Info Box

For the 2007-2013 period, most Member States established their national rural networks (NRNs) with funding from the technical assistance measure of their rural development programmes (RDPs).

However, those Member States with regional RDPs had the option to submit for approval a programme for the establishment and operation of their national rural network, as per article 66 of EAFRD Regulation (EC) No. 1698/2005.

Four Member States took up this option and further description of the national rural network programmes (NRNPs) can be found here:

Resources and Further Reading

  • ENRD (2011) - Findings of the 2011 NRN Mapping Exercise: Final Synthesis Report.  European Network for Rural Development, Brussels. [PDF ]
  • ENRD (2012b) - Networks and Networking in Rural Development Policy.  EU Rural Review 14, European Network for Rural Development, Brussels. [PDF ]
  • ENRD (2012c) - What do we know about networking as a Rural Development Policy Tool?  European Network for Rural Development, Brussels. [PDF ]

Last update: 17/04/2014 | Top