8.30 - 9.00 a.m. | Registration

9.00 a.m. | Welcome and introduction

  • Brendan Burns, EESC Member, President of the Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT)
  • Piroska Kállay, EESC Member, President of the Study Group NAT/698
  • Tom Jones, EESC Member, Rapporteur of the Study Group NAT/698

9.15 a.m. | Session 1: Panel of Practitioners and Stakeholders: Involvement at the grassroots level – what are the realities, needs and perspectives?

  • Nigel A. Callaghan, Chair, Cletwr Community Company Ltd., Wales/UK – Cwmni Cletwr – a case study of a successful Welsh rural social enterprise
  • Pál Hajas, President, Cserhátalja Rural Development /LEADER LAG – Small Village in the 21st century: Taste of Success in Kozard, Hungary
  • Tihana Stepinac Fabijanić, Vice-President, European Council for the Village and Small Town (ECOVAST) – ECOVAST Croatia: Developing Community Values in Croatian Rural Areas
  • Johannes Fankhauser, Director - Rural Development, Austrian Chamber of Agriculture (Copa Cogeca) – The contribution of agriculture to development of rural areas
  • Kirsten Birke Lund, Joint coordinator of the European Rural Parliament (representing ELARD) –  Small towns – Development, Services and Infrastructure


11.00 a.m. | Coffee break

11.15 a.m. | Session 2: Panel of Public Bodies and Funders – What are the policy responses and funding schemes from European institutions?

  • Randel Länts, Member, Committee of the Regions – The need for a rural agenda from a local and regional perspective
  • Martin Scheele, Head of Unit – Conception and consistency of rural development, DG AGRI, European Commission – Policy responses and funding schemes corresponding to the specific needs of villages and small towns
  • Merja Haapakka, Team Leader – Territorial and urban policy, DG REGIO, European Commission – CLLD approach to local development in EU Cohesion Policy
  • Thomas Dogot, Unit for Economy and rural development, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liegè – Global trends, local needs and rural development policies responses in Wallonia, Belgium


12.50 p.m. | Conclusions

  • Tom Jones, Rapporteur of the Opinion on villages and small towns, EESC

1.00  p.m. | End of hearing


Interpreting from EN, FR, DE, HU into EN, FR, DE