The European Rural Parliament - for the first time in Poland. 40 countries' representatives at Targi Kielce
The official opening of the 5th European Rural Parliament held at the Targi Kielce's Congress Centre featured Janusz Wojciechowski - European Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Anna Gembicka Secretary of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski - Chairman of the Council for Agriculture and Rural Areas and Marek Jońca - Member of the Board of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship.
European Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, on behalf of the European Commission, welcomed the guests, emphasised the importance of the Świętokrzyskie region's tradition, and discussed the current and future activities of the European Union for rural areas.
- "I am delighted to be able to open the 5th European Rural Parliament, which we perceive to be a key factor to unite Europe's rural areas and make air out their opinions," said Janusz Wojciechowski, the European Union Commissioner for Agriculture. - When in June 2021, we published a long-term vision for rural areas, and we identified the European Rural Parliament as a partner for the Pact for Rural Areas.
Since January, the ELARD European Association of Leaders for Rural Development, ERCA European Rural Community Alliance and PREPARE Partnership for Rural Europe and other institutions have been involved in and contributed to the Pact for Rural Areas. - This pact aims to bring together all governments and business representatives for the first time in order to work together and to achieve the goals of a long-term vision for rural areas until 2040. It is difficult, but also promising - said the Commissioner.
Anna Gembicka, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, wished for fruitful debates. The Minister highlighted how important it is to participate in such meetings as the European Rural Parliament: - In Poland, over 40% of the population lives in rural areas, which is why it is so important that the voice of rural residents is clearly formulated and expressed both in the national debate and on the European Union's arena. We meet in a beautiful region of our country, in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, which boasts a rich historical heritage and unique natural and cultural values. let me use the opportunity - may the event commencing today abound with fruitful debates, interesting conversations and inspiring reflections that will allow for better joint shaping of the situation in Europe's agriculture and in rural areas - emphasised the Secretary of State.
Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski - Chairman of the Council for Agriculture and Rural Development, mentioned the problem of not hearing and understanding the rural residents' voice: - Rural areas in Poland have become a very good place to live, even better than housing estates, urban areas where people become anonymous. A village is a place of life and professional activity. Alas, many rural residents in Europe, farmers in particular, are convinced that they are unable to have their say at the level of politicians, the European Union and the national authorities.
Marek Jońca, Member of the Board of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, spoke on behalf of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship authorities and welcomed the guests to the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship: - We are honoured that this year's 5th edition of the European Rural Parliament takes place in the beautiful, hospitable Świętokrzyskie region, which is the home for small and medium-sized family farms.
Exchange of experiences and the Declaration
The European Rural Parliament is the time to exchange experiences, share knowledge and good practices between rural communities across Europe, as well as European institutions and organisations working to enhance rural development.
The second day of the European Rural Parliament is the study visits day - the event participants will learn about the traditional flavours of Świętokrzyskie, see the cultural Świętokrzyskie diversity of towns, learn about environmental protection projects and smart villages. After the study visits, participants return to the Congress Centre to learn about the diverse offer of local producers.
On Wednesday, 14 September, the European Rural Parliament welcomes to thematic workshops and a panel discussion on the future of rural areas in Europe. Smart villages of the future, the study of policy agendas and their impact on the countryside, rural digital technologies and solutions, and rural tourism are some of the topics that will be addressed.
The September meeting culminates with the official signing of the Kielce Declaration, which will then be presented to European governments and the European Commission.