See Intergroup Structure








Maria Da Graça CARVALHO (PT, EPP)

Jérémy DECERLE (FR, Renew Europe)


Klemen GROŠELJ (SL, Renew Europe)

Martin HÄUSLING (DE, Greens-EFA)

Hannes HEIDE (AT, S&D)

Elena LIZZI (IT, ID)



Isabel Carvalhais (PT, S&D)

Juozas OLEKAS (LT, S&D)


Nicolae ŞTEFĂNUȚĂ (RO, Renew Europe)






Sylwia SPUREK (PL, Greens-EFA)

Ivan Vilibor SINČIĆ (HR, NI)


Alessandro PANZA (IT, ID)



Irène Tolleret (FR, Renew Europe)

Christophe Grudler (FR, RE)

Brice Hortefeux (FR, EPP)

Seán Kelly (IR, EPP)

Stelios Kympouropoulos (GR, EPP)

Susana Solís Pérez (ES, RE)

István Ujhelyi (HU, S&D)

Maria Walsh (IR, EPP)

Sarah Wiener (DE, Greens)

Elsi Katainen (FI, RE)


Brando BENIFEI (IT, S&D)

Camilla LAURETI (IT, S&D)


Supporting organisations


People living in the more remote parts of Europe rarely have access to the natural gas grid and the electricity supply can be unreliable and hugely inefficient. As a consequence they often have to rely on relatively high carbon solid and liquid fuels which are being used with aging technologies. The Future of Rural Energy in Europe (FREE) initiative gives a voice to all those who believe that rural energy needs are important issues both for those who live in the countryside and for European society as a whole. We want to make sure that policy makers acknowledge that the following is true and plan accordingly.

The FREE initiative is launched and funded by SHV Energy, a family-owned multinational organisation that consists of a group of specialised energy companies. These companies provide people and businesses with decentralised personalised energy solutions and services. Its customers often live or work in areas beyond the natural gas grid. FREE was created in 2010 and is meanwhile supported by a wide variety of groups and individuals committed to realising the potential of rural communities through greater energy choice.

Euromontana is the European multisectoral association for co-operation and development of mountain territories. It embraces regional and national mountain organisations throughout greater Europe, including regional development agencies, local authorities, agriculture organisations, environmental agencies, forestry organisations and research institutes.

Euromontana’s mission is to promote living mountains, integrated and sustainable development and quality of life in mountain areas.

In order to achieve this, Euromontana facilitates the exchange of information and experience among these areas by organising seminars and major conferences, by conducting and collaborating in studies, by developing, managing and participating in European projects and by working with the European institutions on mountain issues.

International association set up in 1980, Rurality-Environment-Development (R.E.D.) develops continuous exchanges on the rural policies and their implementation, with the double finality of a better ground efficiency and of a reinforced dialogue with the European institutions. R.E.D promotes the recognition of rural territories as poles of development, and not merely as areas of open countryside and farmland, and makes it a prerequisite to establishing mutually beneficial exchanges between urban and rural poles.

R.E.D. prioritizes a participatory and strategic approach integrating in a specified territory the economic, social, cultural and environmental concepts.
R.E.D. animates a European rural development network and coordinates the European Countryside Movement, collaborative platform of international organizations.
R.E.D. manages the websites, and and publishes thematic dossiers.

The European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) is the voice of Europe’s next generation of farmers to the European institutions. Acting as a forum for communication and dialogue between young farmers and European decision makers, CEJA’s main objective is to promote a younger and innovative agricultural sector across the EU 28 and to create good working and living conditions for young people setting up in farming and those who are already “Young Farmers”.

The main concerns of young farmers, and the focus of CEJA’s activities in Brussels and beyond are issues concerning access to land, credit and production rights and strengthening education and training facilities for young people in rural areas. CEJA represents 2 million Young Farmers in Europe and has always claimed to be independent of any political ideology.

The network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas (SSPA), originates as a result of the union of three business organizations representing the provinces of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, recognized by the European Union and the Spanish State as sparsely populated regions. In 2017 two other sparsely populated regions of Southern Europe joined the network: Lika-Senj county (Croatia) and Evrytania region (Greece) as well as the local action groups of the Spanish territories.

SSPA’s goal is to formulate and promote measures aimed at reversing the process of depopulation, aging, demographic and economic fragility of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas. The network works to achieve adoption of legislative measures and appropriate policies by public authorities, as well as the involvement of civil society organizations of the European Union.

AEIAR is one of the oldest European networks with about 21 members from 10 EU Member States working in the field of rural development to improve the quality of life in rural areas through integrated rural development policies. This network is recognised by the European Commission and is therefore member of the Advisory Group on Rural Development of the Directorate General Agriculture and Rural Development. / Since AEIAR was founded, the missions and activities of its members further developed within the framework of the European integration process. Therefore, they started working beyond rural planning, especially in the implementation of European Union measures for rural development at regional and local level.
ELARD is an international non-profit association set up in 1999 to improve the quality of life in rural areas and to maintain their population through sustainable, integrated local development. The distinctive feature of ELARD is that it brings together Local Action Groups committed to involving all stakeholders in rural development at a local level. The European LEADER Association joins together almost 2200 Local Action Groups and Fisheries Local Action Groups from 26 countries, including from countries that are not members of the European Union but have adopted and are implementing the LEADER methodology: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland,Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Moldova, Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. More information at, and on facebook:

The German LEADER Association is convinced that the future of the democratic community depends on the extent to which people succeed in actively participating in the political processes. We see the LEADER method, which was developed at the level of the European Union, as a suitable means of supporting this participation. In order to establish and strengthen the LEADER method, the German LEADER action groups (LAG) formed a legally association.  The association pursues the purpose of strengthening and establishing the bottom-up approach of the LEADER method on all political and social levels in Germany and – together with similarly oriented groups of the EU member states – also within Europe. The focus is primarily about the broad, active participation of regional and local actors in the preparation and implementation of regional or local development strategies.
In detail, the association pursues the following purposes:

• Commitment to optimized framework conditions for the work of the LEADER action groups, in particular to implement the bottom-up approach
• Representation of the interests of German LEADER action groups at federal and European Union level
• Promotion of the exchange of experience and networking within the framework of rural development
• Implementation, further development and consolidation of the LEADER approach as an important funding instrument of the European Union
• Promotion of rural areas and their actors

The mission of Latvian Rural Forum (LRF) is to promote a balanced development of rural territories and strengthen civil society in order to create rural territories as a place where people can live, connect and meet their economic and social needs. LRF works to empower and develop innovative ideas for rural development in the communities. The organisation unites more than 80 rural CSOs, and works in national and European level. LRF has been coordinator of European Rural Youth Parliament movement –a long-term campaign to express the voice of rural youth in Europe; and to promote self-help and action by the rural people, in partnership with civil society and governments.

Association “Latvian Rural Forum”
Reg. No. 40008090394; address: Strauti, Kolka, Dundagas novads, LV-3275
+371 288 55 427  |  |  @laukuforums

The Smart Village Network is an open and independent network of villages, village groups and village associations, as well as trusted “enablers” of local development in rural communities, with a direct mandate to represent villages and surrounding rural areas in a bottom-up way.

The Smart Village Network is committed to supporting communities across Europe to develop ‘smart village’ approaches that can deliver more resilient rural areas and communities. Its mission is to enable exchange and cooperation between villages and to make the voice of villages heard at regional, national and European levels.

Interreg Alpine Space programme
Interreg Alpine Space programme

Interreg is a series of programmes for the cohesion between regions in and out of the European Union. The Interreg Alpine Space programme co-finances and supports cooperation projects across the borders of seven Alpine countries. Since its creation in 2000, it tackles common challenges and improve the quality of life of the 80 million inhabitants of the Alpine region. Within the current period 2021-2027, we are at the forefront of the transition to a unique, carbon neutral and climate resilient European territory: the Alpine Region.

DeutscherLandkreistag LOGO

German County Association

The German County Association (“Deutscher Landkreistag”, DLT) is the leading association of the 294 German federal administrative counties (Landkreise). The sector covers around 96% of the surface area of the Federal Republic of Germany and represents three quarters of the local authorities, who in turn represent 55 million inhabitants or 68% of the German population. The association understands itself as promoter of the rural areas in Germany. The German County Association represents public interests via the local authorities which are politically responsible to German citizens. The main tasks of the German County Association are to promote local self-government and foster common interests between all local government bodies vis-à-vis the Federal State, the European institutions, and the public.  One of the most important aims of the German County Association is safeguarding and establishing equal living, supply, working, administration, and development conditions in rural areas in proportion to urban areas. The association is especially concerned with sustainable development in peripheral rural areas, covering issues such as demographic change. Another focus lies within the commitment of the counties as responsible authority for social welfare as well as children and youth social services and local employment policy as well as municipal law, e-government, modernisation of administration, public services law, savings banking, local services of general interest (energy, water, wastewater, waste), business development, health, transport law, environmental law, planning law and European affairs.

FAO logo

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Their goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.

aeidl logo

AEIDL (European Association for Innovation in Local Development) is a Brussels-based association that learns from and fosters community-led innovation to revitalise local communities from across Europe in areas such as rural and territorial development, employment, entrepreneurship, social inclusion, environment, climate action and green growth.  Since its creation, AEIDL has been an active stakeholder in various policies introduced by Europe.  We add value by supporting and facilitating peer learning among local and national actors across Europe, analysing and evaluating relevant EU policies and advocating for enhanced support to community local action to help build a Europe for citizens.

EUSPA logo vertical

EUSPA is the operational European Union Agency for the Space Programme. It adopts a user-oriented approach to promote sustainable growth and to improve the security and safety of the European Union.

Space is essential to the way we live, work and play. EUSPA’s core mission is to implement the EU Space Programme and to provide reliable, safe and secure space-related services, maximising their socio-economic benefits for European society and business. By fostering the development of innovative and competitive upstream and downstream sectors and engaging with the entire EU Space community, EUSPA is driving innovation-based growth in the European economy and contributing to the safety of EU citizens and the security of the Union and its Member States, while at the same time reinforcing the EU’s strategic autonomy.

ERCA, the European Rural Community Alliance was founded in 2008 to provide a pan European voice and platform for representative rural organisations with national or regional standing. Until 2021 it was led, as president, by Staffan Nillson, former president of the EESC, (European Economic  and Social Committee). It has active participation from organisations  located in Portugal, England, Scotland, (Scottish Rural Action), Ireland (Irish Rural Link), in the West, to Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland in the North, to Lithuania and the Ukraine in the East and Belgium, Netherlands and Germany centrally.

ERCA is a voluntary organisation, respected by the other European Institutions for its widespread reach and knowledge of most rural aspects. It has been a key stakeholder in the Commission’s preparations for the PACT and work on rural proofing and a member of the former ENRD Network steering group and Assembly. It is involved in organising the Gathering and steering group meetings of the European Rural Parliament and involved in several previous and current European research projects. ERCA also participated in the launch of the new rural Observatory and the recent OECD conference in Ireland.


The European Countryside Movement (E.C.M), or Mouvement Européen de la Ruralité (M.E.R), is a collaborative platform, open to NGOs with an international focus. The E.C.M. is a variable-geometry platform gathered around specific initiatives and / or communications. The objectives of this Movement are to promote an integrated rural development policy, to protect the socio-economic interests of the countryside, and to develop a productive dialogue with international institutions, particularly of the European Union. The E.C.M. values the specificities and identities of its associated NGOs and does not hold a moral or political personality. The association R.E.D is responsible for the E.C.M. and ensures the suitability between the objectives of the Movement and the actions that carry its label.
The network of Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA) represents close collaboration between the four northernmost counties of Sweden (Norrbotten, Västerbotten, Jämtland Härjedalen, Västernorrland), the seven northernmost and eastern regions of Finland (Lapland, Northern Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, North Karelia, Pohjois-Savo and South Savo) and North Norway (Finnmark, Troms and Nordland). These 14 regions from three countries share common circumstances and objectives and NSPA is working to raise awareness of the northern sparsely populated areas in the EU institutions, to influence EU policy and to provide a platform for best practise.
The European Mountaineering Association (EUMA) gathers associations from different European countries in order to represent their common interests, in particular in the fields of mountaineering, protection of nature and Alpine regional planning as well as the objectives documented in the Convention on the Protection of the Alps (Alpine Convention) and the Carpathian Mountains (Carpathian Convention). The association does not deal with the forms of organised competitive sports, developed from the mountain sports.