Michael Dower

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Our wonderful friend, mentor and supporter, Michael Dower, sadly passed away on Monday November 7, 2022, just a week before his 89th birthday. In his lifetime, Michael was a force in European rural development. He was instrumental in developing the European Rural Parliament partnership and process, including co-ordinating and writing the foundational document ‘All Europe shall Live’, based on a survey of all of our European Partners, from which he developed the first ERP Manifesto at the 2nd ERP Gathering in Austria in 2015. These have remained our baseline documents.

In addition to the ERP, Michael’s work in rural development was extensive. He co-founded and served as coordinator of PREPARE - Pre-accession Partnership for Rural Europe, supporting the launch of many national and regional rural movements and rural parliaments in Central and Eastern Europe. He founded and served as President of ECOVAST – the European Council for the Village and Small Town. He co-founded and animated the European Agricultural Convention (EAC), now ARC2020. He was a very active member of Forum Synergies and many other European civic initiatives. He was co-creating the CURE - Convention for Urban and Rural Europe.

Prior to his post-retirement activism in European rural civil society, Michael managed the Peak District National Park in England; was Director General of the Countryside Commission for England and Wales; and was Professor of European Rural Development at the University of Gloucestershire. He edited and promoted the European Landscape Convention for the Council of Europe.

Michael was passionate about rural areas, their people, landscapes, land use and ecology. In the later years of his life, he worked tirelessly to advocate on the climate change emergency, and led local woodland management projects, working with school children, where he lived in Dorset, England.

Michael was, and is, an inspiration to us all. He urged us to be bold and brave and urgent in our work. His legacy lies within us and our continuing, collective work to support and develop rural Europe – our wonderful home.

Thank you Michael!

Full report of the Zoom session!  To download all presentations please click here!

between 22 and 26 March 2021

Agreement long-term budget | Coronavirus pandemc | EU funds

ERP and its partners have been asked to contribute

Be part of the Smart Rural 21 project and become one of the supported rural communities.

Kielce from Poland!

We are pleased to inform that the European Rural Parliament website is being renewed. The new format will open mid-February. The idea is to make the most used pages more visible and easily accessible. News, events, gathering, advocacy work or any active part of the ERP-activities come first and older data is being archived. Overlapping data will be taken away.

The 4th ERP Gathering was a good success.

The European Rural Youth Parliament movement representatives have brought ERYP Declaration to Brussels (From PREPARE Newsletter)

ERP had succesful advocacy meetings in Brussels from 22nd to the 24th of January 2020.

The 4th European Rural Parliament was held in Candás, Asturias, Spain from November 6-9, 2019. 

The 4th European Rural Parliament was held in Candás, Asturias, Spain from November 6-9, 2019. 
335 delegates representing 38 European countries participated, included rural people, representatives of civil society organisations, researchers, national governments and European Union institutions. This was preceded on November 4-6 by the 2nd European Rural Youth Parliament ERYP, in which 70 young delegates from 14 countries gathered to share their perspective on rural life. The 2nd European Rural Youth Parliament issued a Declaration with 10 calls for action regarding the most urgent challenges faced by young Europeans. Through these very interactive and colourful events, many inspirational talks, workshops, field visits, markets showed the positive energy, ideas and passion of rural people and their organisations.

As a pre-event of European Rural Parliament, not less important, the second European Rural Youth Parliament will take place in Asturias, Spain from 4 till 6 November 2019. More than 70 young professionals from around 10 countries will be gathering to state youths’ perspective on European Rural manifesto. Later, constructive discussions with European Parliament representatives will be held in Brussels.

The 2nd meeting of the Smart Village Network (SVN) took place in Hungary (Bonnya) on 18-19 June 2019 and was hosted by Koppany Valley Local Action Group.

The meeting was dedicated to the Smart Village Network members and included a series of discussions with a small group of committed members about future cooperation. During the meeting, SVN members decided to formalise the operation of the SVN and engage in more strategic cooperation.

The field visit in the local area aimed at providing a realistic picture about the challenges (including soil erosion, depopulation and related social problems) as well as the opportunities (community and guest house and small enterprises including the production of high-quality 3D-printed hearing devices) of the area.

The short summary video of the event will be soon available on the event’s page: https://www.smart-village-network.eu/2nd-svn-event.

If you are interested in becoming an SVN member, get in touch through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Allowing both hosts and trainees to gain valuable experiences. Sign in as host or trainee.

Forum Synergies cooperates with Latvian Rural Forum on a Scholarships for Youth. Offering opportunities for both young people and hosts to learn from each other.
Sign up as student or host and Forum Synergies / Latvian Rural Forum will ensure the matchmaking. Both students and hosts will also be invited to participate in the 4th ERP in Spain in November.

Find all the information you need here

Join the Theme-activities or one of the surveys being part of the ROAD-project.

The ROAD project (Rural Opinions, Advocacy and Development) is ERP 2018-2019 activity funded by the EU Europe for Citizens Programme

The application was supported by 17 of the ERP partners, but everybody are welcome to join the activities within the project, and we encourage you please to contribute – either by taking part of one of the surveys directly on our Website – or by participating in some of the themes run by ERP-partners.

Find and join the Theme-activities here

And keep an eye on the surveys and other animations activities to be found here

Soon an Instagram activity will be launched as well.

And join their 2nd Network-event in Hungary 17th – 19th June.

The Smart Village Network (SVN) is an open bottom-up network of villages, village groups and village associations across Europe. It aims at facilitating exchanges among villages about smart village approaches and making the voices of villages heard at regional, national and European levels.

Find out more about the Network on their Web here

"Towards spatial justice – territorial development or marginalization”
Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Investment and Economic Development, Committee of Geographical Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences and Polish Geographical Society are organizing international conference

The European Commission is undertaking a consultation on the future of Europe. The ERP is doing its own survey, related to this.  Completing our survey will help you to answer to the official version. The results will also input to our ROAD activities for policy purposes.  Additional questions are attached at the end of the survey. Give your answers from a rural people’s perspective. This will give ERP ideas on what kind of advocacy activities are needed from people´s perspective. When answering open-ended questions, please give short answers for ERP-purposes.

Below is the link to the official EC survey (noted by EC, that this survey has been drafted by citizens themselves)


It is a great pleasure to announce the host of the 4th European Rural Parliament. This will be held in Asturias in Spain, hosted by READER, the Asturian Rural Development Network and their partners, in association with ERP Partner REDR, the Spanish Network for Rural Development. It will take place 6-9 November 2019, in the village of Candás in Carreño municipality in the region of Cabo Peñas.

Congratulations to our Spanish partners!

We were delighted to have received 4 exceptional proposals to host the 2019 ERP gathering - from Finland & Sweden, Romania, France and Spain. This is an endorsement of the importance that the ERP Gathering has now achieved. The team of assessors had a difficult task to make their recommendations to the ERP Steering Group, which took the final decision at their meeting on September 26. We want to thank the 4 partners who went to so much effort to submit such excellent proposals. Unfortunately only one could be chosen this time!

We will circulate more information on the ERP website, newsletter and social media as plans develop, so please keep an eye on these in the coming period.


The host for the 4th European Rural Parliament – Asturias in Spain


The host for the 4th European Rural Parliament – Asturias in Spain


The host for the 4th European Rural Parliament – Asturias in Spain


The host for the 4th European Rural Parliament – Asturias in Spain

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We are delighted to share this very positive outcome from the 3rd European Rural Parliament. The European Parliament cite directly the Venhorst Declaration in their Resolution addressing the specific needs of rural, mountainous and remote areas (2018/2720(RSP). Link:


This goal of the Resolution is to activate the European Union to come up with concrete actions. We will be following the development of this process.

Dates: 13/05/2019 to 17/05/2019 Location: Brussels Type: Fair Organiser: EU institutions

Hosted every year since 2014, the EU Green Week is the biggest annual conference on environment policy. The 2019 edition will focus on the process of environmental implementation, looking at its success, benefits for citizens and the implementation gaps.

Dates: 11/04/2019 to 12/04/2019 Location: Brussels, Organiser: ENRD Contact Point

This ENRD event will build on the ten years of rural networking in Europe by recognising its value, demonstrating its results and proactively looking at the future.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 9-12 April 2018

This was a huge and diverse event, with around 500 participants from around the world, especially Europe. Policy makers, researchers, NGOs, rural representatives.

Conference now closed - click link to Conference website and watch social media for news


Final session - OECD 10 key drivers of rural change 

20180411 174522



NAT Commission of the European Committee of the Regions and and the Rurality-Environment-Development network



Financing the integrated development of rural areas

A goal that lies at the heart of the need for social, economic and territorial cohesion: the EU budget in perspective

19 March 2018 – 09:30-16:00

at the European Committee of the Regions

Van Maerlant Building room VMA1 - 2 rue Van Maerlant, 1040 Brussel

You are invited to register to the conference via the following link until 14 March end of day.
Only registered participants will be granted access to the conference room. No registration will be accepted after this deadline.

Interpretation will be available in EN/FR/ES

The conference programme will be regularly updated under the following link.

Do not hesitate to contact us, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any information you may need.


We are looking forward to meeting you on 19 March 2018.

We like to share this invitation. Please klick this LINK

FFA = Forum for the future of abriculture

Mark Tuesday, March 27, 2018, in your calendar now and join us at the Forum for the Future of Agriculture in Brussels, the premier meeting place to discuss sustainable agriculture and environmental security.

Join the conversation and contribute to the dialogue at FFA2018.

To hear what others attending last year thought your can watch this short video.

Based on the more than 300,000 contributions to the open consultation on the future CAP,

The European Rural Parliament is a long-term campaign to express the voice of rural people in Europe; and to promote self-help and action by the rural people, in partnership with civil society and governments.

The campaign reaches a climax every two years with a gathering of rural people from all parts of the wider Europe. The next European Rural Parliament will be held in October 2017 in the Netherlands.

Throughout 2017, we are preparing for that event by strengthening the network, enriching our evidence through thematic working groups and supporting our national partners to hold national rural parliaments and other events.

to all in the ERP network
Dear friends,

As United Kingdom citizens, who campaigned for our country to stay in the European Union, we are sad today that our compatriots voted by majority to leave the Union.   As democrats, committed to listening to the people’s voice, we respect that vote.