Networks and networking provide crucial support to the achievement of rural development objectives in Europe through, for example, the sharing of knowledge and exchange of ideas.

Rural networks have a specific role in supporting improved design and delivery of Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) and better rural development practice across the EU. This role was increased significantly in 2007 with the set-up of the National Rural Networks (NRNs) and the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD).

The common objectives of the NRNs (Article 54) and the ENRD (Article 52) for the 2014-2020 programming period are defined by the Rural Development Regulation[1] [PDF ] as being to:

  • increase the involvement of stakeholders in the implementation of rural development;
  • improve the quality of implementation of Rural Development Programmes;
  • play a role in informing the broader public on Rural Development policy.

Substantial rural networking experience has been accumulated amongst the NRNs since 2007 and the ENRD has an important role in sharing and providing access to this knowledge and experience.

Explore this section to find out more about the work, operation and experience of the NRNs:

  • NRN Profiles provide basic information about the National Rural Networks (NRNs)
  • NRN Mapping Reports provide an overview of the different activities of the NRNs and their Network Support Units (NSUs) across Europe
  • NRN Toolkit  provides a range of lessons and good practices for networking based on the experience of NRNs
  • Network Self-assessment   aims to assist rural networks and other interested stakeholders in carrying out on-going self-assessment
  • NRNs’ Meetings & Workshops provides summaries and direct links to the European meetings of the NRNs and associated materials

Further information

[1] Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013