Franz Fischler: "Here in Salzburg we have managed to send a very clear signal about how we envision an up-to-date, effective and sustainable policy on rural development, just as I hoped at the outset of the conference."
Chaired by Joseph Daul
Chaired by Josef Riegler
Chaired by Paolo De Castro
Panel 4: Mobilising local actors
Chaired by José María Sumpsi
Panel 5: Simplifying delivery
Chaired by Dirk Ahner
His Royal Highness D. Felipe De Borbón y Grecia, Prince of Asturias, chairing the opening session
At a press conference opening the conference on the future of rural development policy in Salzburg, Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler announced that local actors and the regions would be given a greater role to play.
Mr Fischler stressed that the Salzburg conference was about broadening rural development policy as one of the main pillars of agricultural policy.
The Salzburg conference was a follow-up to the Cork Conference on Rural Development (1996) which launched a wide debate on rural development policy. That process culminated in the Agenda 2000 reforms, which saw rural development policy established as the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy.
The conference was held at a crucial time in the preparation of Community policy for rural areas for post-2006 and in the run-up to the publication of the 3rd Cohesion Report at the end of 2003. Rural policy will need to evolve to meet new challenges within an enlarged European Union.
The conference provided an opportunity for a wide reflection on the experience of the current generation of rural development programmes running from 2000-2006, and draw lessons and conclusions for the next generation of programmes during the period 2007-2013.
The conference brought together the major stakeholders in rural development within the EU. Participants included representatives of the EU-15 Member States and Acceding Countries, of other European Institutions, national and regional programme management authorities, Leader groups, a wide range of sectoral associations and NGO's, international organisations, academics and experts, all of whom are crucial to the success of this policy.