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"Europe's rural areas in action: Facing the challenges of tomorrow"

16 -17 October 2008, Limassol, Cyprus

The aim of this conference was to take stock of the current policy and try to identify whether it is adequately addressing the present and future challenges facing rural areas in Europe. Harnessing the potential of rural areas for economic diversification and development, improving policy delivery, local governance and networking and finding the right balance between top-down and bottom-up approaches are also very important in this respect.

It also addressed a number of open questions: we need to know more about the typology and specificities of different rural areas; about the demographic, socio-economic and environmental changes in rural and peri-urban areas; about the relationship of rural areas with smaller and bigger towns and cities; about the factors that shaped the enormous diversity of rural areas, those associated with success and those with failure. Above all we need a clearer definition of rural areas and a better idea about the territorial aspects of rurality. 


General background to the Conference - pdf available in deenfr

Programme [pdf]

Photo gallery: 15 October / 16 October / 17 October

"The EU Rural Development Policy: Facing the Challenges" [pdf]



16 October, morning: Plenary session

Chair: Loretta Dormal-Marino - Deputy Director-General, DG Agriculture and Rural Development

Opening session: Perspectives on Rural Development
Welcome by the host country; "Cyprus' perspective on Rural Development", Michalis Polynikis - Charalambides, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment
Presidency's view on the way ahead
Important aspects as seen by the European Parliament, Neil Parish MEP, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development [pdf]
"Challenges and opportunities for Europe's Regions", Jerzy Zajakala, Committee of the Regions
"The European Economic and Social Committee's perspective on Rural Development", Hans-Joachim Wilms, ECOSOC
Plenary session: Facing the challenges of tomorrow
"Prospects for rural development policy", Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural development
"Food safety and quality as a driver for development", Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Health [pdf elen]
Keynote Speech: "Rural areas: current situation and future challenges", Hervé Guyomard, INRA [pdf]
"Europe's rural areas seen from the outside", Charles Fluharty, RUPRI
Floor debate


16 October, afternoon: Workshops

1st Workshop:
Making EU agriculture fit for global competition
2nd Workshop:
Adapting agriculture and forestry to climate change
3rd Workshop:
Land management and public goods: scope for common ground
4th Workshop:
The diversity of rural areas: harnessing the development potential
5th Workshop:
Improving delivery, successful governance and networking
Subject: Innovation and business creation. Training and building of human capital. Search for new market outlets and income sources including renewable energy. Subject: Identification of regional impact of climate change: water management, erosion, pests and diseases, etc. Potential responses to climate change. Subject: Delivery of environmental goods and services as an essential element for sustainable rural development. Subject: Advances in the typology of rural areas, local/national/global factors affecting socio-economic development, drivers of change, policy response, urban-rural links, link with the cohesion policy. Subject: Identifying measures corresponding to needs, balance top-down / bottom up approaches, networking concepts in business and public administration
Background document  [pdf] Background document  [pdf] Background document  [pdf] Background document  [pdf] Background document  [pdf]


"Making EU Agriculture Fit for Global Competition", Folkhard Isermeyer, Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute [pdf]

"Innovation in farming - A case-study", Péter Papp, Papp Farm [pdf]


"Adapting agriculture and forestry to climate change",  Martin Haworth, NFU England and Wales [slides: pdf - text: pdf]

"Climate change impacts on EU forests and possible adaptation measures", Marcus Lindner, European Forest Institute [pdf]

"Climate change as a driver of European agriculture", Jørgen E. Olesen, Aarhus University [pdf]


"Estonian case study: Land Management and Public Goods", Pille Koorberg, Agricultural Research Centre [pdf]

"Land Management and the Delivery of Public Goods", Peter Nowicki, Wageningen University and Research [pdf]

"Agro-Environmental Measures in Emilia Romagna", Teresa Schipani, Directorate-General Agriculture [pdf]



"Exploring rural futures: The ESPON scenarios", Moritz Lennert, IGEAT - ULB‏ [pdf]

"Typology of rural areas in Italy and its role in strategic programming", Francesco Mantino, INEA [pdf]

"Changing rurality, what new policy requirements?", Alan Matthews, Trinity College [pdf]


"Urban-rural linkages: Common lifestyles - common governance? The Project21 example", Stefan Kuhn, ICLEI [pdf]

"Successful governance and networking: contributions to a targeted and effective policy delivery", Robert Lukesch [slides: pdf - text: pdf]

"Rural and quality food districts as governance instruments: the Italian experience", Serena Tarangioli, INEA [slides: pdf - text: pdf]

Panel discussion Panel discussion Panel discussion Panel discussion Panel discussion


17 October, morning: Plenary session

Chair: Mrs Loretta Dormal-Marino - Deputy Director-General, DG Agriculture and Rural Development

Reporting on main outcomes of the workshop (5 rapporteurs):
  • Workshop 1 [pdf]
  • Workshop 2 [pdf]
  • Workshop 3 [pdf]
  • Workshop 4 [pdf]
  • Workshop 5 [pdf]
Questions and Answers
Facing tomorrow's challenges of compliance: A view from the Court of Auditors, Riemer Haagsma, CoA [pdf]
Presentation of the European Network of Rural Development and the Contact Point: Jose Manuel Sousa Uva, Director, DG Agriculture and Rural Development [text: pdf enfr - slides: pdf fr]
Closing speech by Loretta Dormal-Marino [pdf]



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