ENRD Newsletter - March 2015
















  First meeting of EU Rural Networks’ Steering Group  
The first meeting of the EU Rural Networks’ Steering Group took place in Brussels on 25 February 2015. The meeting marked the start of the Steering Group’s work of providing guidance and coordination to the activities of the two European Rural Networks (ENRD and EIP-AGRI).

Representatives exchanged views on the most important topics and priorities for 2015 and how the European networks could work on these themes in practice. This input will guide the ongoing development of the networks’ activity plans. The full meeting report will be made available on the ENRD website.

For more information on the establishment and composition of the Steering Group, see pages 10-14 and Annex II of the "
EU Rural Networks and Strategic Framework and governance bodies" paper.
Court of Auditors assesses rural development spending
A new European Court of Auditors (ECA) report has highlighted that “The complexity of rural development policy and Member States’ weak control systems are the chief causes of the high error rate in spending.”

Published on 17 February 2015, the Special Report on Errors in Rural Development Spending argues that Member States’ control authorities “could and should have detected most of the errors affecting investment measures in rural development.”

The report highlights that the average error rate in rural development expenditure 2011-2013 was 8.2% and that most of the errors “are due to breaches of conditions set by Member States”.

“The key to bringing [the error rate] down is to strike the right balance between the number and complexity of rules governing spending […] and the efforts to guarantee compliance with such rules,” commented Rasa Budbergytė, the ECA Member responsible for the report.

For more information, visit the Court Of Auditors newsroom.
    New assessment of EU legislation costs to farmers

    An independent External study financed by the European Commission has found that the costs of complying with EU legislation in the fields of environment, animal welfare and food safety are not a key restriction on the competitiveness of Europe’s farms.
    The report concludes that, “Compared to the total production costs, compliance costs for analysed EU legislation in the eight sectors and the 12 EU Member States are low. Differences in production costs between EU farms and farms in third countries seem to be mainly driven by productivity, land and labour costs and feed price.”
    New EU Energy Union package launched

    The Commission launched its long-anticipated Energy Union package on 25 February 2015, including a ‘Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy’.

    Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union said: "Today, we launch the most ambitious European energy project since the Coal and Steel Community. A project that will integrate our 28 European energy markets into one Energy Union.”

    Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated that “This is about Europe acting together, for the long term. I want the energy that underpins our economy to be resilient, reliable, secure and growingly renewable and sustainable."
    Evaluating Investment Support measures in RDPs
    A report financed by the European Commission presents a review and analysis of different methods for evaluating investment support measures in Rural Development Programmes. 
    Investment support measures in RDPs aim at increasing productivity within the agricultural and forest sector and to diversify production in non-agricultural activities. The report written by independent experts from Metis, WIFO and aeidl examines six methods for assessing the impact of such measures to support physical investments.
    Inventory of Agricultural Advisory Services in Europe
    A detailed inventory of agricultural knowledge and information systems (AKIS) and advisory organisations from EU Member States is available online as a result of the PRO AKIS research project.

    The country-by-country inventory is a great resource providing a unique EU-wide overview of relevant AKIS organisations and actors, including basic and applied agricultural research institutes and universities, advisory services, and other actors influencing research priorities and practical decision making on farms, such as cooperatives, supply services, and farmers’ organisations.
    Making the case for agroecology

    A new series of animated videos have showcased good practices in applying agroecological approaches to farming in various EU Member States. The videos aim to contribute to improving how agri-food performs in Europe.
    The videos have been released jointly by ARC2020, Friends of the Earth Europe and IFOAM EU. See also the new brochure from ARC 2020: Transitioning Towards Agroecology: Using the CAP to build new food systems.
    EU rural data 2014

    The European Commission has published the 2014 edition of its Statistical Book on Agriculture, forestry and fishery data.
    Produced by Eurostat, the publication provides data per Member State in seven sections covering subjects such as agricultural production, agricultural prices, agriculture and the environment, and forestry resources.

    It also provides aggregated EU data such as the finding that “in 2014, crops represented just over half (52%) of the total agricultural output of the EU.”

    The publication includes a specific focus on family farming in the EU and an analysis of changes in farm holdings over time.

    What can forests offer you?

    A new publication by EIP-AGRI on Creating diverse forests with multiple benefits presents innovative approaches to forest management to ensure the many functions of healthy sustainable forests.
    It explores aspects including diversification as a way to create alternative sources of income, methods to restore the ecological functions of forests and innovative land management of small forest plots.
    Call to action on Good Food, Good Farming
    The ARC2020 Conference ‘Good Food Good Farming’ further developed the organisation’s draft roadmap document making a call for action to “strengthen a broad alliance for good food, good farming and a living countryside”.
    The roadmap calls for “solutions for future food and farming which are closer to citizens and to nature” and based on a greater appreciation of common values, common goods and common spaces.
    Analysis of INTERREG rural development projects
    The Interreg IVC Territorial Co-operation Programme has published an analysis of its rural development achievements, drawing out lessons learned for national and European policy.
    The report showcases nine Interreg rural development projects, highlighting innovative approaches, common challenges and solutions, and issues of effectiveness and sustainability.




      18 March 2015   
    Regional cooperation for innovation on water management in horticulture
    Brussels, Belgium
    This invite-only workshop will focus on innovative approaches and highlight cooperation opportunities for setting priorities for innovation on water use and emission reduction from horticulture. It will help to connect potential stakeholders around project ideas.


      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.


      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.


      23 March 2015
    EC-EIB co-operation in agriculture and rural development within the EU
    Brussels, Belgium
    This conference will formally launch the co-operation between the European Investment Bank and the Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development aiming to boost the use of financial instruments available for agriculture and rural development. Find out more.


      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.


      25-28 March 2015
    International Agricultural Exhibition ‘Ka pasesi 2015’
    Kaunas, Lithuania
    The exhibition is aimed at companies, institutions, organisations and small-scale producers and sellers from around Europe and the world. Topics range from agricultural techniques, water, heating, and farming equipment to agricultural science and advisory services.


      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 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 outcomes of the ENRD Seminar from the day before.


      26-27 March 2015
    Volonteurope Seminar and Conference
    Riga, Latvia
    The seminar ‘Rural Isolation of Citizens in Europe’ on 26 March will explore challenges facing rural communities in the Baltic States and Poland and aim to identify possible solutions. It will be followed by a conference ‘A Vision of the Common Good for Europe’ on 27 March.


      27-29 March 2015
    21st International Fair of Agricultural Techniques AGROTECH
    Kielce, Poland
    The fair brings together hundreds of market-leading companies and institutions representatives to provide professional advisory services, as well as insights on how to best use EU RDP funding relating to agricultural techniques.


      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.
      10-12 April 2015
    7th International Fair of Rural and Agricultural Tourism AGROTRAVEL
    Targi Kielce, Poland
    The fair is specifically dedicated to rural tourism products and will provide networking opportunities for prospective agro-tourism entrepreneurs to initiate cooperation with potential project partners.
      14 April 2015  
    ENRD workshop on result-based agri-environment payments
    Brussels, Belgium
    This workshop is intended for managing authorities, paying agencies and other actors involved in the programming and delivery of agri-environment-climate (AEC) schemes. In order to improve the accountability of AEC commitments and ensure ambitious policy objectives, the design of measures based on results could be an attractive change of approaches 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 is meant to 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 cooperation among advisory systems decision makers and stakeholders in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries.
      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.


      21 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).
      28 April 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.
      12 May 2015
    2nd NRN meeting
    Jurmala, Latvia
    The overall objective of the 2nd NRN meeting is to assist NSUs with the launch of their action plans and enable them to exchange ideas on specific tasks such as communication, good practices, thematic groups and innovation.
      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.
      13 May 2015 (tbc)
    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. 
      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.
    ENRD Contact Point
    Rue de la Loi, 38 (bte 4)
    B-1040 Bruxelles
    +32 2 801 38 00


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