ENRD Newsletter - February 2015
















  First Rural Networks Assembly outlines strategic priorities  
The first ever European Rural Networks Assembly took place in Brussels on 26 January. It brought together nearly 200 delegates representing rural development stakeholder groups to discuss and debate the strategic direction of the two EU rural networks: ENRD and EIP-AGRI.

Themes and challenges on which the ENRD should prioritise work were identified as: improving rural development programme (RDP) management and performance; simplification of RDP funding mechanisms and procedures; demographic challenges; collaboration in diversifying rural activity; and monitoring and evaluation.

European Commissioner Phil Hogan addressed the Assembly, highlighting the important role of rural networks in supporting improved implementation of RDPs to help meet Europe’s key agriculture and rural development challenges.

Kersti Kaljulaid, of the European Court of Auditors, highlighted the role that rural networks can play to support improved spending of rural development funds to reduce the error rate in rural development spending and achieve better results.

ENRD starts thematic work 2014--2020
ENRD thematic groups are starting their work on a first set of overarching priorities for the 2014-2020 period: increasing stakeholder involvement and improving RDP implementation.

Between February and June 2015, both thematic groups will hold up to three meetings to exchange views and experiences from the range of rural development stakeholders. Membership of the thematic groups is open and voluntary.

As well as delivering a final report, each group will contribute to the preparation of an ENRD Seminar on their topic (see Calendar of Events).

For more information, please read the thematic group summaries, or contact:
Another 18 RDPs approved!

The European Commission has approved a further 18 Rural Development Programmes from 13 EU Member States (BE, EE, FI, FR, DE, LV, LT, NL, PT, ES, SK, SI & UK). These latest approvals on 13 February mean that 27 out of the 118 RDPs for 2014-2020 have now been approved (23 %).
EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan highlighted that initiatives to be supported under this latest set of RDPs range "from modernisation projects for agriculture in the Baltic Republics, and encouraging more young farmers to enter the sector in Slovenia, to specific schemes to improve water quality in the Netherlands." They will also notably “provide more than one million places on training courses.”

For the latest updates on RDP approvals, see the Commission’s rural development 2014-2020 Country Files, where you can find the latest state of play as well as factsheets, summaries and press releases on all the approved RDPs.

New Evaluation Helpdesk on its way

The contract for the new European Evaluation Helpdesk for Rural Development 2014-2020 has been awarded. The first quarter of 2015 will be dedicated to setting up the new Helpdesk team and office in Brussels.

The Evaluation Helpdesk is, along with the Contact Point, one of the two service providers for the ENRD. Its agreed work programme includes a stronger focus on: good practice in evaluation methodologies and processes, and capacity building for evaluation stakeholders in Member States.

For more information, contact: info@ruralevaluation.eu
Italian NRN recognised by 2014 CAP Communication Awards
The RDP Planet initiative of the Italian National Rural Network won third prize in the ‘Communication to Stakeholders’ category at the recent 2014 CAP Communication Awards. RDP Planet is a monthly online newspaper that includes content by farmers for farmers, giving special attention to young farmers.
The Special Prize of the Public went to Liveable. Austria, a project run by the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, which used real-life testimonials to explain the positive impacts of the new RDP on the country’s regions.

The awards ceremony, which took place in Brussels on 29 January 2015, gave three prizes in each of three categories: Communication to Stakeholders; Innovative Communication; and Communication to the Public. See the full list of CAP communication award winners 2014.

Online inventory of EU forest research
A new database of forestry-related research and innovation projects is now available online. The database includes over 180 EU-funded projects.

Created by the Forest Based Sector Technology Platform (FTP), the inventory provides information on the scope, duration and funding of each project. It will be further developed to include details on the approximately 1 500 participating organisations and on the outputs of each project.
Mainland Finland approves new Local Action Groups

The Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry approved 54 new Local Action Groups (LAGs) in mainland Finland for the 2014-2020 period on 22 January 2015.
The Local Development Strategies (LDS) produced by the new LAGs aim to further improve opportunities for rural business and entrepreneurship and place increased focus on rural youth and environmental sustainability.

Juha-Matti Markkola of the Finnish NSU also highlights that “Many of the new LAG strategies emphasise the possibilities of transnational co-operation as a strategic tool to meet bigger goals. That is a good starting point for the new period of rural development.”

How to integrate climate action into rural development

DG Climate Action, European Commission has published guidelines on Mainstreaming climate change into rural development policy, providing suggestions for designing and integrating new and innovative climate actions into the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programmes.
The document explores the potential for increased climate action through LEADER and joint actions under the Co-operation Measure. It also highlights best practice examples from 2007–2013.
Young Farmers in the Spotlight

Future Farmers in the Spotlight is an independent film project to raise awareness of successful young farmers who have set up viable, innovative and sustainable farming initiatives. It aims to inspire and encourage the next generation of sustainable farmers.
Having filmed 16 inspiring stories across Western Europe, the project now aims to tell the stories of young farmers in Southern and Eastern Europe and focus on ‘access to land’ as a crucial step in setting up a rural business.
Guide to EU support for organic farming
A new Guide on support opportunities for organic producers in Europe highlights the funding available to farmers to develop organic agriculture in the EU.
The guide covers organic farmers, processors, and retailers under the reformed CAP and within the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). It aims to support the EU organic scheme and logo.
Understand EAFRD financial instruments
A new factsheet on financial instruments co-funded by the EAFRD has been produced. Financial instruments aim to address market gaps in access to finance, such as in small farms or new agricultural businesses with insufficient credit history. 
The guide has been produced by fi-compass – a platform for advisory services provided by the European Commission in partnership with European Investment Bank - to help improve awareness of the potential of financial instruments as a sustainable and efficient way to invest in rural development.




  21 February 2015  
Sustainable production and environment protection (agro-ecology)
Paris, France
The Can EU CAP it? project will be present at the Salon International de l'Agriculture with an event on agro-ecology.
  21 February-1 March 2015 
Salon International de l’Agriculture
Paris, France
The Paris International Agricultural Show is the annual meeting place for key players in the world of agriculture. It is organised around four sectors: livestock breeding; products and gastronomy; crops, plants, nature and lifestyle; and agricultural services and professions.


  25 February 2015
1st meeting of Rural Networks’ Steering Group
Brussels, Belgium
The Rural Networks Steering Group is an important part of the governance structure of the ENRD Contact Point and EIP-AGRI Service Point. The 1st meeting of the Steering Group will include a discussion on the 2015 activities and thematic work of the European Rural Networks.
  26 February 2015
ENRD Training on Simplified Cost Options I
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.


  10 March 2015  
1st meeting of Rural Networks’ Sub-Group on Innovation
Brussels, Belgium
The sub-group will support achieving the aims of the EIP-AGRI network - facilitating the exchange of expertise and good practice, establishing a dialogue between farmers and researchers and facilitating the inclusion of all stakeholders in the knowledge exchange process – by contributing to the development of the networking activities related to the EIP.
  17 March 2015 (morning)
1st meeting of the ENRD Thematic Group 'RDP implementation'
Brussels, Belgium
The objective of the ENRD thematic work on ‘improving RDP implementation’ is to provide those directly or indirectly involved with knowledge and tools to address key challenges and improve programmes’ performance from the outset of the 2014-2020 period. Find out more here. 
  17 March 2015 (afternoon)  
ENRD Training on Reasonableness of Costs and Public Procurement
Brussels, Belgium
This training is aimed at Managing Authorities and will focus on ways of assessing best value for money with regards to public procurement and private investment.


  18-19 March 2015
Nordic-Baltic NRN meeting
Jäneda, Estonia
This meeting will bring together NRN representatives from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden to discuss the new programming period in terms of LEADER/CLLD, Innovation measures in each country’s RDP, NRN self-evaluation and future cooperation among the NRNs.


  18 March 2015
Food security, food safety and food quality
Rome, Italy
This is the closing event of the "Can EU CAP it?” project. The debate will be organised in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.


  23-25 March 2015
10th European Annual Symposium EU Funds 2015
Berlin, Germany
This annual forum brings together around 500 EU Funds experts from all over Europe and promotes an exchange of knowledge, experience and best practice between EU Institutions and Member States with regard to the correct management and control of EU Funds.
  26 March 2015
1st ENRD Seminar on stakeholder involvement
Brussels, Belgium
The event aims to contribute to an improved understanding and capacity of networking by identifying key stakeholders and their main needs, as well as practical tools, methods and ways to ensure better stakeholder involvement. 
  27 March 2015   
2nd meeting of the ENRD 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. Find out more here. 


  30 March 2015
Protecting forests, respecting rights: policy options for EU action on deforestation
Brussels, Belgium
This conference aims to contribute to the development of policy proposals, including an EU action plan, on deforestation and forest degradation in Europe.
  31 March 2015 
8th Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA2015)
Brussels, Belgium
The forum, jointly organised by the European Landowners’ Organisation (ELO) and Syngenta, aims to stimulate open discussions on the future of agriculture and assess what measures should be implemented with regard to food and environmental security.
  22 April 2015
1st meeting of Rural Networks’ Sub-group on LEADER / CLLD
Brussels, Belgium
This permanent sub-group will support and guide ENRD activities to improve the implementation of LEADER / Community Led Local Development (CLLD).
ENRD Contact Point
Rue de la Loi, 38 (bte 4)
B-1040 Bruxelles
+32 2 801 38 00


If you are no longer interested, you can unsubscribe from our newsletter