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  New networking opportunities via ENRD on LinkedIn  

Now you can network with rural development professionals through a new ENRD group on LinkedIn. In addition to sharing news and updates via the open group, there will also be closed sub-groups for members to have private discussions and exchanges on specific areas of work.

The ENRD Contact Point has launched the LinkedIn group to serve as an open platform for discussion, news and analysis of EU rural development issues. By joining the group, you will be able to interact with rural development professionals across Europe. This is an open group, so even if you are not on LinkedIn, you will still be able to view discussions online.

The Contact Point has also created the first private LinkedIn sub-group on the theme of communication. This will provide a forum for ENRD communication professionals to share ideas and ask each other questions to encourage mutual learning on good practice in communicating on rural development.

For more information or to join the groups contact veneta.paneva@enrd.eu or search for the ENRD on LinkedIn.



 
Five Agriculture Priorities for Latvian EU Presidency
The Latvian Presidency of the EU Council has announced five EU agricultural policy priorities for the first six months of 2015. The key priority is the simplification of the CAP, in line with Commissioner Hogan’s plans to ease the administrative burden for farmers and cut red tape at national level. 

The Programme of the Latvian Presidency has further emphasised the need to continue discussions on the European animal and plant health package and the reform of EU rules governing the organic sector. The Presidency intends to take forward the sensitive discussions on cloning and novel food legislation. Finally, the Presidency will lead discussions on the implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy launched in September 2013.

Watch a short online video presentation of the Latvian Presidency’s top agriculture priorities.


European Parliament launches cross-party groups on rural affairs

The list of 28 new European Parliament Intergroups for the period 2015-2019 includes at least four directly related to rural development concerns.

The creation of an Intergroup on ‘Rural, mountainous and remote areas’ was supported by a joint initiative of rural NGOs. There are also intergroups on ‘Biodiversity, countryside, hunting and recreational fisheries’, ‘Climate change, sustainable development and biodiversity’ and ‘Seas, rivers, islands and coastal areas’.

Intergroups are informal cross-party bodies to exchange views between MEPs, often in co-operation with civil society organisations. They can provide a useful point of contact for understanding and influencing the work of the European Parliament.
 
What EU funding opportunities for the tourism sector?

The European Commission has published a comprehensive new guide to EU funding for the tourism sector.


The guide provides very practical information on identifying calls and the eligible actions, rules and levels of funding available under various EU programmes and financial instruments, including the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development. The publication also presents project examples from the previous period to inspire ideas for future projects.


The new International Year of Soils begins

New Year 2015 saw the end of the 2014 International Year of Family Farming and the start of the new International Year of Soils 2015.

The 2015 Year will seek to promote ‘healthy soils for a healthy life’, raising awareness of our dependence on healthy soils and the many threats faced.

2014 highlighted the role of family farming as the predominant mode of agricultural production in the world. The Year included a Global Dialogue event, a European Commission Conference and an online EUFoodChat Twitter discussion. See also ENRD Rural Review Issue 17 on Family Farming.
Successful forest policy requires European dialogue

This headline was one of the key conclusions of the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) Members Day in December 2014.

Discussions focused on how forest policy could best be implemented in the light of emerging societal and political challenges and the Communication on a new EU Forest Strategy published by the European Commission in late 2013.

Participants agreed that while forest management is an issue for Member States, effective dialogue and coordination at European level is essential.
New guidance on LEADER co-operation projects

DG AGRI has recently produced a new guide on EAFRD-supported transnational and inter-territorial co-operation projects between Local Action Groups (LAGs).

Co-operation between LAGs, whether on national or transnational level, is a way to widen local views, bring new knowledge to the area and boost the innovative character of local development. 

Read the guide to find out what types of financial support are available to LAGs, the eligibility conditions and the selection criteria for co-operation projects.

Ugly fruit and vegetables making a comeback

The French retailer Intermarché ran a highly successful 2014 campaign to promote the sale of abnormal fruit and vegetables previously considered unmarketable.


In a direct attack on unnecessary food waste, the campaign achieved remarkable social media attention in France, increased sales in the supermarket and led rival firms to launch similar offers.

The initiative followed the call by the European Parliament to make 2014 the European Year Against Food Waste.

Call for rural development experts for financial instrument advisory group

The European Commission has published a call for independent experts for the Advisory Platform for financial instruments under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) microfinance.


The group will advise the Commission on stakeholder needs and the evolving policy environment to ensure that technical assistance for funds including the EAFRD is delivered effectively and coherently. It would therefore usefully include experts on rural development issues. Please see more information on the mandate of the group and who can apply.

Free e-learning courses on food and agriculture

A number of free online courses have been made available for self-study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).
 
The e-learning courses cover a number of relevant rural development topics particularly focused on food and nutrition security, social and economic development and sustainable management of natural resources. They have been made available with financial support from the EU.

 
   
16-25 January 2015  
International Green Week Berlin 2015  
Berlin, Germany
The 80th edition of International Green Week will feature multiple exhibitions of the food, agricultural and horticultural industries, as well as events addressing topics such as the future of rural areas, organic agriculture, rural development and renewable resources.
 
19-20 January 2015
Financial Instruments 2014-2020 under European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)
Brussels, Belgium
The event will provide guidance on the implementation of the 2014-2020 EU financial instruments, including the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
21 January 2015  
Quelles Références pour l’agriculture biologique?
Nanterre, France
The French National Federation of Organic Agriculture (FNAB) organises this seminar to discuss its work on benchmarks for the independence, innovation and resilience of organic farms.
22 January 2015
2015 Policy Conference ‘Countryside Values for the 21st Century’
London, UK
The conference will gather rural policy decision makers, stakeholders and researchers to discuss contemporary topics relevant to the countryside such as food, energy, natural and cultural resources.
 
22-23 January 2015
Workshop on biosecurity in the EU
Brussels, Belgium
The DG-AGRI workshop aims to contribute to innovation for ‘on-farm biosecurity’ in the production of poultry, ruminants and pigs by identifying appropriate biosecurity measures and best practices.
26 January 2015  
EU Rural Networks’ Assembly
Brussels, Belgium
The new Assembly brings together the stakeholders of the ENRD and EIP-AGRI network to advise the European Commission on how to better put Rural Development Programmes into practice.
 
28 January 2015  
Vocational education and training in rural and remote areas
Brussels, Belgium
This public hearing aims to gather civil society proposals to address the challenges faced by rural and remote areas in the context of vocational education and training.
29 January 2015
Agriculture durable, la clef du sol
Paris, France
The event will focus on ways in which sustainable soil use can contribute to minimising the negative effects of climate change and economic crises.
 
29 January 2015
CAP Communication Awards - Networking event
Brussels, Belgium
The event will bring together professionals communicating the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and showcase best practice examples of ‘communication to stakeholders,’ ‘communication to the public,’ and ‘innovative communication.’
5-6 February 2015  
Séminaire 'Entrepreneuriat rural et gouvernance locale : réalités québécoises et françaises'
Agen, France
The seminar will examine good practices of rural entrepreneurship and local governance in Quebec to draw lessons for the work of the future French NRN and identify areas of co-operation.
 
10-11 February 2015  
Good Food & Good Farming Event
Brussels, Belgium
ARC 2020 is organising this two-day conference and gathering aimed at renewing civil society’s agenda towards sustainable food and agriculture, including in the context of the CAP.

21 February 2015  
Sustainable production and environment protection (agro-ecology)
Paris, France
The Can EU CAP it? project will be present at the Salon International de l'Agriculture with an event on agro-ecology.
 
21 February-1 March 2015 
Salon International de l’Agriculture
Paris, France
The Paris International Agricultural Show is the annual meeting place for key players in the world of agriculture. It is organised around four sectors: livestock breeding; products and gastronomy; crops, plants, nature and lifestyle; and agricultural services and professions.
18 March 2015
Food security, food safety and food quality
Rome, Italy
This is the closing event of the "Can EU CAP it?” project. The debate will be organised in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
23-25 March 2015
10th European Annual Symposium EU Funds 2015
Berlin, Germany
This annual forum brings together around 500 EU Funds experts from all over Europe and promotes an exchange of knowledge, experience and best practice between EU Institutions and Member States with regard to the correct management and control of EU Funds.
31 March 2015 
8th Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA2015)
Brussels, Belgium
The forum, jointly organised by the European Landowners’ Organisation (ELO) and Syngenta, aims to stimulate open discussions on the future of agriculture and assess what measures should be implemented with regard to food and environmental security.
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