ENRD Newsletter - April 2015
















  ENRD Seminar stresses stakeholder involvement role of Rural Networks  
The first ENRD Seminar of the 2014-2020 period highlighted the central role of Rural Networks in supporting stakeholder involvement in rural development policy. A strong message from the event was that Rural Networks need both the mandate and the resources to fulfil this role effectively.

Participants at the seminar stressed the benefits of supporting stakeholder engagement at all stages of the elaboration and implementation of rural development policy, from the definition of policies and programmes to implementation of projects on the ground.

See the
Seminar webpage for more information and the presentations of example stakeholder involvement at project level, in local planning and in policy and implementation. The event report will be available soon.
New financial guarantee instrument for agriculture
A joint event of the European Commission (EC) and European Investment Bank (EIB) saw the launch of a new ‘model financial instrument’ to help ease access to finance for farmers and other rural businesses. The EIB’s new model instrument can already be adapted and used by Member States.

In his speech at the event on 23 March, Commissioner Hogan highlighted that “a sum of, say, EUR 100 000 provided as a guarantee could turn into a loan worth […] EUR 200 000, EUR 300 000 or more.” He also reminded that RDPs can be modified to include provisions for such financial instruments and made the commitment that “we will approve such changes as a priority.”

The launch of this new instrument builds on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the EC and EIB on 14 July 2014. See also the event webpage, including videos, presentations and supporting information.

    Food Assemblies spreading across Europe

    A network of Food Assemblies - social enterprises that enable direct trade between local food producers and customers through an online market - is spreading across western Europe.
    The concept was launched in France in 2010 as a new way of sourcing and selling local food thanks to the power of the Internet and social networks. Rules of Food Assemblies state that food must be sourced within a 200-km radius.

    In its first three years, the French and Belgian network grew to more than 600 Assemblies, involving 4 000 producers and 100 000 active members. The network has now grown to more than 840 assemblies also in Germany, Italy, Spain and UK. Find your local Food Assembly and read the blog.

    FFA calls for new partnership for sustainable agriculture

    The Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA) 2015 highlighted the need to build bridges between the farming and environmental communities to achieve sustainable agriculture that addresses global challenges and balances the need for economic viability of farming and well-functioning ecosystems.

    The 2015 event brought together around 1 500 delegates in Brussels on 31 March and was preceded by a series of online debates on key strategic questions. For more information, watch the FFA 2015 videos and read the final media statement.
    European milk quotas end
    The EU’s milk quota regime came to an end on 31 March 2015.
    The quotas were originally introduced in 1984 to tackle large surpluses in EU milk supply. Their ending has been long-planned in the face of more targeted measures for supporting producers in vulnerable areas and increasing export markets.

    See written and visual material on the history of EU milk quotas, MEPs’ reaction to the changes and five predictions for the EU dairy sector from Agra Europe.

    Supporting farmer networks
    Read the detailed Practitioner Guide on Forming a Farmer Network which aims to be a tool for building the capacity of farmers to deliver collaborative, innovative and cost-effective solutions to the local challenges they face.

    The guidance was the output of a UK project funded as a co-operative action between two LEADER LAGs. It also produced a brochure profiling several UK farmer networks to highlight the value they can bring, particularly in challenging areas such as the hills and uplands.
    Rural Isolation of Citizens in Europe

    A Policy Brief by Volonteurope has highlighted the social, labour and educational isolation of citizens in some of Europe’s poorer rural areas.
    The report sets out the realities of rural isolation and the mechanisms that perpetuate it. It goes on to present successful civil society interventions to combat isolation and makes a number of political recommendations in this context.
    European Parliament Intergroup launched

    The new European Parliament Intergroup on Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas was officially launched in Strasbourg on 12 March 2015.
    This first official meeting of the Intergroup set out the group’s main aims, including to represent the voice of rural people, highlight rural capacity and achieve an integrated approach to rural issues within the European Parliament.

    The group brings cross-party MEPs together to work on issues affecting rural areas and their people. It is Chaired by Mercedes Bresso (MEP). Within the Intergroup, six sub-groups have been created on topics including: resourcing integrated rural development; rural-urban interrelations; and living in rural areas today.

    Research highlights role of networks in rural innovation

    A research paper on rural innovation has found that innovation seems to be “particularly common in food production, as well as in the environmental and energy sectors.” It goes on to note that “these projects tend to rely more heavily on large networks, in which the presence of public actors is often critical.”
    The research, published in the Journal of Rural Studies (2014), analysed a number of innovation projects in several European rural areas to assess the projects’ contributions and the role played by stakeholders.
    EXPO Milano kicks off in May
    The Universal Exhibition 2015 is taking place in Milan Italy on the theme of: Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life.
    EXPO Milano runs from May to October 2015 and aims to “examine human history through the lens of two aspects of food production: traditional cultural values and the use of new technologies.” The event will showcase regional foods as well as solutions that contribute to guaranteeing healthy, safe and sufficient food, while respecting the planet’s equilibrium.

    See a list of CAP-related events at EXPO Milano.





      14 April 2015  
    ENRD workshop on result-based agri-environment payments
    Brussels, Belgium
    This workshop is intended for Managing Authorities (MAs), Paying Agencies (PAs) and other actors involved in the programming and delivery of agri-environment-climate (AEC) schemes. The design of measures based on results could be an attractive change of approach for MAs and beneficiaries. 


      15-16 April 2015 
    Rural and Agricultural Advisory Systems (RAAS): Best practices and experiences. Co-operation with the Eastern Partnership countries
    Riga, Latvia
    The conference will facilitate the exchange of best practices in advisory and extension systems in rural areas in terms of set-up, organisation and sources of financing. The event also aims at strengthening the co-operation among advisory systems decision makers and stakeholders in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries.


      16-18 April 2015
    1st Croatian Rural Parliament
    Baranja, Croatia
    The 1st ever Croatian Rural Parliament will gather representatives of rural communities to discuss possibilities and prospects for the development of Croatian rural areas and to see how they can make an impact on the policies shaping their lives. The cross-cutting theme of the event is "What are the perspectives of young people in rural areas?"


      19-23 April 2015
    Global Soil Week
    Berlin, Germany
    In the context of the International Year of Soils, 2015, the third Global Soil Week will aim to serve as a knowledge platform for sustainable soil management and responsible land governance worldwide.


      20 April 2015
    European Tree of the Year Award Ceremony 2015
    Brussels, Belgium
    The annual European Tree of the Year contest aims to highlight the significance of old trees for our natural and cultural heritage. The award ceremony is organised by the Environmental Partnership Association together with the ELO and co-funded by Tetra Pak and the EU.


      21 April 2015
    1st meeting of Rural Networks’ Sub-group on LEADER / CLLD
    Brussels, Belgium
    This permanent sub-group will support and guide the European Rural Networks’ activities to improve the implementation of LEADER / Community Led Local Development (CLLD).
      21 April 2015
    The Roadmap for Future Land Resources Management in Europe
    Brussels, Belgium
    The event will present the final output of the VOLANTE project – a roadmap for the future of land use as envisioned by various stakeholders throughout Europe. The roadmap aims to inform European decision-making on land use and natural resources management.  


      2 May 2015
    Conference on Safety and Nutrition in 2050
    Milan, Italy
    Organised by the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission, this conference will address challenges to the global food chain and the role of future policy-making in addressing these to ensure safe, nutritious, quality and sustainable food.


      6-9 May 2015
    International conference ‘Forestry: Bridge to the future’
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    This event aims to bring together international researchers and business practitioners from the forestry sector to exchange academic work and potentially form research project partnerships on the topics of climate change and environmental sustainability.
      7 May 2015
    2nd meeting of Thematic Group 'RDP Implementation'
    Brussels, Belgium
    The second meeting of the thematic group on RDP implementation will take forward issues and instances discussed at the first meeting with a focus on exchanging on good RDP implementation practices and planning the following ENRD seminar. 
      8-10 May 2015
    Brussels Food Truck Festival
    Brussels, Belgium
    The second edition of the largest annual gathering of food trucks in Europe will bring together around 80 food trucks from various countries and 80 000 visitors to present a wide selection of street food from different cultures and backgrounds.
      12-13 May 2015
    2nd National Rural Networks' meeting
    Jurmala, Latvia
    The overall objective of the 2nd NRN meeting of the 2014-2020 period is to assist Network Support Units with the launch of their action plans and enable them to exchange ideas on specific topics, including communication, innovation and the identification of thematic priorities.
      12 May 2015
    ENRD Workshop on Simplified Cost Options II
    Brussels, Belgium
    This training is aimed at Managing Authorities who have expressed their intention to use Simplified Cost Options in their RDPs. It will include an overview of basic concepts, practical exercises and good practices from the 2007-2013 period.


      15 May 2015
    Bringing European Infrastructures onto one DISH to Optimise Food and Health Research
    Milan, Italy
    The final conference of the EuroDISH project will take place within the 'Food, Nutrition, Health and Wellbeing' week in the EXPO pavilion of the European Commission. It will focus on the main findings of the project: societal and scientific challenges in the food and health domains, as well as the infrastructure needed to advance food and health research.
      19 May 2015
    PRO AKIS Final Conference
    Brussels, Belgium
    The conference will present the main outcome of the PRO AKIS research project: a detailed inventory of agricultural knowledge and information systems (AKIS) and advisory organisations in the EU.


      19-20 May 2015
    Long-term Trend and Effects of Air Pollution on Forest Ecosystems, their Services, and Sustainability
    Ljubljana, Slovenia
    This scientific conference will address the effects of air pollution on tree growth, crown condition, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and the sustainability of forests.


      19-21 May 2015
    National Prosperity through Modern Rural Policy: Competitiveness and Well-being in Rural Regions
    Memphis, USA
    This rural development policy conference organised by the OECD will bring together the world’s leading policy officials, international experts and private sector representatives to discuss modern rural policies and their contribution to national growth and well-being.


      20-22 May 2015
    Infoagro Exhibition 2015
    Almería, Spain
    The first edition of the Horticultural Fair Infoagro Exhibition 2015 will bring horticultural companies from around the world together with farmers to provide the latter with insights on how to optimise their production.
      28 May 2015
    3rd meeting of Thematic Group 'Stakeholder Involvement'
    Brussels, Belgium
    The objective of the ENRD thematic work on ‘stakeholder involvement’ is to identify key action areas for ENRD, NRNs and European stakeholder organisations to increase stakeholder involvement in rural development implementation. Participants will discuss and plan the content of the final thematic group report.
      28-29 May 2015
    Organic Production, Research and Innovation: Setting Priorities for the Future
    Milan, Italy
    Organised in the context of Expo Milano 2015 ‘Feeding the planet – energy for life’, this conference will bring together researchers, farmers, farm advisors and other stakeholders to share ideas and knowledge on research and innovation in the organic production sector. The collected inputs will feed into further elaborating the Commission’s research and innovation policy.
      3-5 June 2015
    Green Week 2015: Nature – our Health, our Wealth
    Brussels, Belgium
    The biggest annual conference on European environment policy will focus on the theme ‘nature and biodiversity’ and include discussion topics such as sustainable farming and CAP support for nature-based tourism.
      3-5 June 2015 
    2nd Latvian Rural Communities Parliament
    Ligatne, Latvia
    The event will be held within the framework of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU and will bring together stakeholders from rural communities and policymakers to debate the topic: “Creation of preconditions for the development of small towns and rural areas.”


      3-6 June 2015
    Conference ‘Reforestation Challenges’
    Belgrade, Serbia
    The conference will gather top researchers from Europe and North America to encourage more active co-operation among researchers and practitioners. The main output of the event will be a thematic publication on the challenges and opportunities within reforestation processes.
      8-12 June 2015
    IUFRO Tree Biotechnology Conference ‘Forests: the Importance to the Planet and Society’
    Florence, Italy
    This international forum will present and discuss new developments and ideas related to the current state and future of research in genetics, genomics and biotechnology in the forestry.
      9 June 2015
    European Agriculture, Policy and Food Security: What’s at Stake?
    Milan, Italy
    The Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission will hold this event in the context of Expo Milano 2015 ‘Feeding the planet – energy for life’ to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable farming and of the challenge of food security.
      10 June 2015
    2nd ENRD Seminar on 'RDP Implementation'
    Brussels, Belgium
    The event aims to provide new knowledge and tools to address key challenges and improve RDPs’ performance from the outset of the 2014-2020 programming period. The seminar is an integral part of the thematic work of the ENRD on ‘improving RDP implementation.’
      11-13 June 2015
    European Organic Congress
    Riga, Latvia
    This year’s edition of the congress will explore how the relevant EU legislation and the reformed CAP can be best used to support the development of the organic sector.
      12 June 2015 (tbc)
    2nd Meeting of the Rural Networks’ Steering Group
    Brussels, Belgium
    Building on the inaugural meeting held in February, the 2nd Rural Networks’ Steering Group meeting will continue its co-ordination of the 2015 activities and thematic work of the ENRD and EIP-AGRI network.


      14-17 June 2015
    Efficiency in the Agri-Food Sector
    Solothurn, Switzerland
    This four-day conference will examine in detail opportunities to increase efficiency in farm management and advisory services by applying scientific theory and practice for improving efficiency to the agricultural sector and activities in rural areas.
      19 June 2015
    Towards a Long-term Vision for Agricultural Research and Innovation by 2020 and beyond
    Milan, Italy
    Organised in the context of Expo Milano 2015 ‘Feeding the planet – energy for life’, this event of the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission will highlight the innovation potential of the European farming sector in view of contributing to global food security.
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