The climax of the 2013-15 Campaign was the 2nd European Rural Parliament, held in the beautiful small town of Schärding in Upper Austria in the first week of November 2015. This three-day event was hosted by Regionsverband Sauwald-Pramtal and organised by the ERP Co-ordinators in co-operation with Thomas Müller and his colleagues of Projects4. It was attended by 240 people from 40 European countries, plus other leading rural organisations and invited representatives of the European institutions. It included one day of study tours in the regions surrounding the venue, followed by two days of workshops and plenary sessions. The event was made possible by funding from the EC Europe for Citizens programme and generous co-funding from the governments of Austria and Upper Austria, plus significant help in kind from Schärding County Council, Schärding Town Council, Local Action Groups in Upper Austria, the staff and students of Schärding secondary school, and the organisations who hosted study tours. The venues in Schärding included the handsome Kubin Hall; meeting rooms in many parts of the town; and a large marquee set up the Town Square, which made this European Gathering highly visible to the citizens of the town.
The Second European Rural Parliament culminated in the adoption – after long debate – of the European Rural Manifesto, with its forceful conclusions aimed at rural communities and governments throughout Europe and at European Institutions. The Manifesto was immediately circulated to the media and the European institutions. During the following weeks, it was translated into 27 European languages, and has been used by national partners for circulation within their countries and for advocacy to their governments. ERCA, PREPARE and ELARD – all of which have seats in the Civil Dialogue Group which advises the European Commission on its policies for agriculture and rural development, and on the Rural Networks Assembly which guides the work of the European Network for Rural Development – have used the outputs of ERP 2015 in their subsequent networking, advocacy and other activities. The Manifesto has formed the agenda and the starting-point for the 2016-17 campaign, leading up to the Third European Rural Parliament.
All reports, programme and photos can be found in the Library
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