FIVE of the leading European rural affairs organisations have joined forces.
The Rural Coalition of Europe has been formed by Copa-Cogeca (representing farmers and agricultural co-ops), CEJA (representing rural youth), ELO (the European Landowners Organisation), FACE (the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU), and UECBV (the European Livestock And Meat Trading Union), representing livestock markets, livestock and meat traders, slaughterhouses, cutting plants and meat preparation plants).
The coalition’s first official meeting took place last month at the headquarters of Copa-Cogeca in Brussels. Copa-Cogeca secretary-general Pekka Pesonen said: “The EU’s rural areas make up 80% of the total area. Agriculture and the EU’s agri-food sector provide over 40 million jobs, mostly in rural areas. Yet the voice of rural stakeholders is often not represented adequately. The Rural Coalition consequently aims to promote and defend the importance of rural areas and stakeholders, including farmers, foresters, landowners, agricultural and forestry workers, hunters and tourism operators.”
FACE CEO Angus Middleton said in an increasingly urbanised Europe, the coalition will be crucial in highlighting the pivotal role of stakeholders in the development and management of rural land areas in a multi-functional and sustainable manner that meets social, economic and environmental requirements.
UECBV secretary general Jean-Luc Mériaux said: “The Rural Coalition also aims to improve the competitiveness of the EU rural economies, whilst maintaining the environmental balance of production, for example in the livestock sector.” At the same time, the coalition will communicate the needs and aspirations of rural stakeholders in developing and implementing rural development policies.
CEJA secretary general Pascale Rouhier said: “The coalition will also support policies designed to promote generation renewal in rural areas and especially ease the installation of young farmers, to ensure the continued development of the profession in the future.”
Inaugural chairman, ELO secretary general Thierry de l’Escaille, said the coalition will coherently assess and communicate the role of rural areas, and support any actions aimed at improving the conditions of stakeholders.
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