250 participants from 40 European countries met during the 3rd European Rural Parliament at the village of Venhorst, North Brabant Province, the Netherlands from 18 to 21 October 2017 under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, and with the participation of representatives of European Union institutions, of some national governments and of civil society organisations from many countries.
You can read the blogs written by representatives from Scotland who attended the Parliament.
Now that the European institutions are shaping the future of EU programmes and funds, the European Rural Parliament calls for a new unified basis for funding of local development. This would bring together a significant slice of the four European Funds – Rural, Regional, Social and Maritime – into a fund for Community Led Local Development, managed in a unified way at European and national levels.
These combined funds should then be deployed on a decentralised basis through LEADER groups and other local partnerships. This will generate the energy of local people and organisations working together, and encourage action suited to the very varied needs of each place.
The Declaration also focuses on other key current issues in rural Europe. Participants at Venhorst applauded the successful holding of the first European Rural Youth Parliament in August 2017 and urged public authorities to ensure that young people can take part in funded programmes. They were encouraged by the increasingly widespread action of rural communities in welcoming refugees and economic migrants and in tackling poverty and social exclusion. They called for imaginative action to sustain rural services and diversify rural economies.