Written by Marie-Laure Augere-Granier and James Mceldowney,
Twenty years ago, the European Commission hosted a conference on rural development in Cork, Ireland. Initiated by the then Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Franz Fischler, the intention was to launch a public debate on rural development policy and in particular to raise awareness concerning the importance of ‘making a new start in rural development policy’. Involving a range of experts and external stakeholders, the conference participants signed up to a common Declaration setting out ten key points to guide rural development policy for the EU. With sustainable rural development at the top of the agenda, rural development policy was seen as multi-disciplinary in concept but multi-sectorial in application, providing support for diversification. Ambitious in nature, the Cork Declaration, as it became known, can be viewed as an attempt to urge policy makers to follow up on the aspirations it contained. Since then, significant developments have occurred in the EU’s rural development policy to make it a more central feature of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
On 5-6 September 2016, the European Commission is organising a new conference on rural development in Cork, exactly twenty years after the first one. In the presence of Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Czesław Siekierski, President of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and Gabriela Matečná, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Slovakia, the event will bring together some 250 policy makers, academics, NGOs and other interested parties. It will provide an opportunity to discuss current and future challenges of rural areas and agriculture, and will be concluded with the presentation of a new Cork declaration.
See our topical digest on
‘EU Rural development policy‘
A number of recent EPRS products are relevant to the issues that will be discussed ranging from general overviews of EU rural development policy and its financing to more specific elements covering for example, farm diversification, innovation and simplification. An appreciation of citizen’s awareness and expectations in respect of EU policies towards agriculture is also included. Other sources include information on the reality of the rural-urban divide.
See also our topical digest on ‘EU Rural development policy‘.