Europe’s rural regions are losing their heritage, industries, populations, and values – threatening food security and supply across the EU. To preserve what makes these regions unique for future generations and ensure the longevity of the EU’s food-producing communities, we need a renewed EU commitment to the promotion of regional heritage, rural sustainable growth and rising living standards.
This European Citizens Initiative asks the EU to modernise its rural commitments to take into consideration the need for greater food security, supply of agricultural materials and protection for the rural way of life – its people, their values and livelihoods.
The EU must respect its rural communities, their heritage, and values. Europe has a proud tradition of supporting its agricultural and rural-based communities and their way of life. And yet, our rural sectors and those that work them face increasing pressure and diminishing incentives to continue, which, if not addressed, will lead to the extinction of some of Europe’s most foundational communities and values. The textiles industry is a prime example, which has become centred around fast fashion rather than environmentally sustainable slow and natural fibre-based fashion.
We wish for the EU to promote and support environmentally sustainable rural production of goods, food and other agricultural outputs across the Member States. As such, this Citizens’ Initiative aims, within the competencies conferred to the EU by the Treaties:
- We request the EU Commission to create a proposal to strengthen and preserve regional heritages and industries throughout the EU. The proposal must boost rural growth and promote rural job practices and activities such as agriculture (family to large-scale), gamekeeping, horticulture and natural fibre production in the textile industry (wool, silk, fur and cotton) that are at the heart of rural communities. It is necessary for the proposal to consider and respect the traditional crafting industries that rely on rurally sourced materials and smaller fringe businesses that service large-scale farms. The proposal must recognise food security and supply (fertiliser, biogas materials etc.) and the importance of maintaining a robust regional food supply in Europe.
- Promote investment and rising living standards in rural communities by developing regional heritage focused tourism, education and industry across the EU, with respect to sustainable production.
- While welcoming the EU’s Green initiatives, the Commission must consult with local and rural representatives on the details of implementation.
We, EU citizens, invite the Commission to introduce by law, throughout the Union, the:
- The inclusion of rural heritage promotion and recognition of food security/supply in the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, providing investment and legislative protection for traditional practices. This would include updating Rural Development Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 or its successor to have a larger emphasis on the promotion and investment in local cultural heritage, where it can demonstrate increased use of sustainable production and protection of the EU’s food security.
- The Long-term Vision for the EU’s Rural Areas up to 2040, Rural Pact and EU Rural Action Plan should increase their scope to include investment and legislative protection for rural heritage where it can demonstrate increased use of sustainable production and promotion of EU food security and supply.