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  Unlocking the potential of the RDPs  

A recent ENRD conference looked into the main drivers and barriers behind the design of the 2014-2020 national and regional Rural Development Programmes (RDPs), as well as into opportunities for their implementation to address local needs and contribute to EU priorities as best as possible.

Collaboration between actors at European, national and regional levels was highlighted as a key driver of the programming process. Delays in legislation and guidance, and excessive rules and procedures – and varying interpretations of these – were seen as the main barriers.

With the completion of the programming stage, RDP implementation could now be enhanced through simplification of procedures, for example via increased application of Simplified Cost Options (SCOs) and flexibility in programme modification.

Capacity building and collaboration among Managing Authorities, Paying Agencies and auditors will be further pursued with the active support of European and National Rural Networks. This will include exchange of good practices, in fields such as cooperation, Financial Instruments, risk management and multi-funding.

Summaries of all RDPs now online
Summaries of all the national and regional Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) for the 2014-2020 period are now available on the ENRD Contact Point website.

The summaries provide a concise overview of selected content of each RDP in an easily digestible form. This includes general information on the territory covered by the RDP and an overview of the planned expenditure, Measures and 2023 targets per rural development priority and focus area.

Stakeholders can use the summaries to gain a quick snapshot of the main priorities and areas of action of the RDP for their territory. They can also use them to quickly compare their RDP with others across Europe.

Using Simplified Cost Options in LEADER/CLLD

An ENRD Contact Point capacity-building workshop saw an exchange of practical experiences in designing and implementing Simplified Cost Options (SCOs) in LEADER/CLLD with a special focus on preparatory support and running costs & animation.

The application of SCOs as a means to simplify the delivery of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) is expected to pick up in the 2014-2020 period with several Member States and regions already using SCOs. The ENRD Contact Point will continue to enable exchange and collect good practices throughout 2016 to support a simpler and more effective rolling out of CLLD.

Implementing CLLD across the ESI Funds

Approaches to implementing CLLD across the various European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds, as well exploring the potential for cooperation and multi-funding were the main focus of a recent seminar, organised by the European Fisheries Areas Network (FARNET).

Explore the outputs of the event, including concrete examples of approaches to CLLD implementation and multi-funding, and infographics overviewing CLLD budget allocation across Europe under each of the ESI Funds.

Improving farmers’ position in the food chain

A new European-level ‘Agricultural Markets Task Force’ has been created with the aim of improving the position of EU farmers in the food supply chain. 

The group of experts will explore matters such as: farmers’ access to Financial Instruments; legal possibilities for organising farmers' collective actions; and contractual relations within the food chain. The work will lead to recommendations for future policy and legislative initiatives.

Funding for promotion of EU agri products 

The European Commission has launched calls for projects aimed at promoting European agricultural products on both the EU and third country markets.

The calls seek to finance multi-annual promotion campaigns to find new markets for European agricultural products. The total financing available in 2016 is € 111 m.

UK rural Manifesto for equality

A rural Manifesto for equality has recently been launched by The Land Workers’ Alliance and The Land Magazine in the UK.
Targeted as a manifesto for the parliamentary opposition, the manifesto covers rural matters such as housing, land ownership, agriculture and rural employment. It makes recommendations for future policy objectives, as well as specific action points for each of the covered areas.
Coaching on Financial Instruments

The advisory platform fi-compass and DG AGRI will jointly organise targeted coaching for rural development Managing Authorities (MAs) on how to best programme and implement Financial Instruments (FIs).

A pilot phase of the initiative will assist three MAs in using FIs to leverage private funds in order to generate growth and jobs. By 2018, the service will be extended to all remaining MAs, offering basic and advanced training on FI implementation.

New information platforms in Spain

A new digital platform, infoPAC, including a mobile application, now provides real-time, practical information on agricultural policy, funds and payments, as well as news and events in Spain. It was recently launched by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture.

Farmers and other rural development stakeholders can also benefit from the new Spanish Rural Network website containing all relevant information on the Rural Development Programmes 2014-2020 and an interactive exchange platform.

Europeans’ views on the CAP

A recent Eurobarometer survey found that Europeans believe that while the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) fulfils its role in securing food supply in the EU, it should do more to ensure a fair standard of living for farmers, protect the environment and tackle climate change.

Specifically, Europeans consider that “strengthening the farmer’s role in the food chain” and investing in rural areas should be the top priorities of the CAP.

The survey outputs include a report and summary of the main findings, as well as factsheets on the results in each Member State, available in English and the national language.

A new agricultural research and innovation strategy 

A new strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation identifies priority areas for research and maps out the main elements for its effective implementation.

Key cross-cutting issues are identified as the use of ICT, creating value from land and socioeconomic research. The new strategy and how it could be implemented to efficiently tackle the challenges facing rural areas were discussed at a recent EU conference “Designing the path: a strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation".

Help shape the CAP
Join the European debate on the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and how it is implemented across EU Member States via EurActiv’s new blog ‘The New CAP - Stories from the Ground’.

Engage with CAP stakeholders and policy-makers from across Europe and express your opinion on hot agriculture and rural development topics to contribute to future policy review and actions.

23 February 2016  
ENRD Workshop on the Investment Plan for Europe
Brussels, Belgium
This ENRD workshop will focus on core elements of the Investment Plan for Europe: the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) and the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP).

23 February 2016  
Urban Agriculture and the European Agenda
Brussels, Belgium
The event will discuss possibilities for urban agriculture to support the Europe 2020 strategy and how various EU policies, including the Common Agricultural Policy, can benefit from it.
24 February 2016  
2nd Meeting of ENRD Thematic Group "Smart and Competitive Rural Areas"
Brussels, Belgium
The meeting will explore how to use the rural development tools available to develop ‘Smart and Competitive Areas’, focussing on developing added value and improving access to markets.
26 February 2016  
Targeting Opportunities for ICT in Agriculture
Dublin, Ireland
This seminar will bring together farmers, industry representatives, researchers and funding partners to explore opportunities for ICT in Agriculture as a way to overcome challenges facing the agri-food industry.
27 February – 6 March 2016 
Paris International Agricultural Show
Paris, France
This exhibition 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.
29 February - 1 March 2016  
National Rural Networks’ Meeting
Bled, Slovenia
The fourth NRNs’ meeting for the period 2014-2020 will support Network Support Units (NSUs) in identifying and developing relevant activities to improve the implementation of Rural Development Programmes (RDPs).
1-2 March 2016  
What Future for our Farming Systems? Environmental Challenges and Integrated Solutions
Edinburgh, UK
This conference will discuss the benefits to be gained from more sustainable resource use and greater integration of different land uses on lowland and upland farming systems.
3 March 2016  
Smart Farming: Harvesting the Digital Dividends across the EU
Brussels, Belgium
The event will gather leading experts in the field to share their experiences of how to make the most of ICT-enabled agriculture for the benefit of farmers, consumers and the whole value chain in-between.
4 March 2016  
Rural Networks’ Steering Group Meeting
Brussels, Belgium
The fourth Steering Group (SG) meeting aims to fine-tune the 2016 priorities and monitoring and self-assessment methods of the EU Rural Networks, as well we strengthen the involvement of SG members in networks' activities.
15 March 2016 
ENRD Workshop on Selection Criteria
Brussels, Belgium
The workshop will enable exchange of experiences among Managing Authorities and Paying Agencies in designing targeted, transparent and easy to administer selection criteria, and effectively communicating them to (potential) beneficiaries.
17 March 2016 
ENRD Workshop on LEADER/CLLD in Social Inclusion
Brussels, Belgium
The workshop will discuss LEADER/CLLD and rural networking approaches, tools and practices for enhancing social inclusion and integrating marginalised groups in rural areas.
22 March 2016 
9th Forum for the Future of Agriculture
Brussels, Belgium
The forum, jointly organised by the European Landowners’ Organisation (ELO) and Syngenta, aims to stimulate debate on sustainable agriculture and environmental challenges.
31 March-2 April 2016
World Forum on Access to Land
Valencia, Spain
The event will gather a variety of social and institutional actors to address major issues linked to access to land and natural resources, and develop efficient solutions.
31 March-2 April 2016
Agricultural Exhibition ‘Ka Pasesi 2016’
Kaunas, Lithuania
This international exhibition will feature topics ranging from agricultural techniques to agricultural science and advisory services, from rural trades to agricultural publications and advertising.
4-6 April 2016
Transforming Food and Farming through Organics
Amsterdam, Netherlands
The 10th European Organic Congress will look at how organic and agro-ecological approaches can lead future agri-food systems and contribute to the development of EU policies that fundamentally address political, environmental and societal challenges.
19-21 April 2016
Environmentally Smart Agriculture
Tartu, Estonia
This annual AGROFORUM brings policy makers, entrepreneurs and research institutions to tackle problems of environmentally smart agriculture (ESA) in Baltic Sea region and beyond.
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