The 2009 Travelling Workshops and Annual Gathering of PREPARE were organised from June 30 to July 4 in Croatia and Slovenia, with strong involvement of the Croatian Rural Development Network (HMRR) and the Slovenian Rural Development Network (SRDN, a partner in PREPARE).
It is a tradition in PREPARE to organise its main multi-national event each year in a different country and region of Europe. The main geographic focus of the 2009 event was South-Eastern Europe, especially countries preparing for or aspiring to EU accession. The theme of the Gathering was “Rural economic recovery and EU enlargement in South-Eastern Europe”.
The participants to the event came from:
- countries in Central and Northern Europe which have national partners in PREPARE (Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia); there were also representatives of the two pan-European partners in PREPARE, Forum Synergies and ECOVAST;
- South-Eastern European countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia, as well as Romania);
- European institutions: representatives of the European Commission and European Parliament.
In total, there were 87 participants from 17 countries. In addition to the funding from PREPARE, obtained from a grant by the C.S. Mott Foundation, financial support to the event was provided by one of HMRR’s member organisations – ODRAZ – from a project financed by the Dutch government through Milieukontakt International, and by the Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. SRDN and HMRR provided co-financing also from their own sources. It should be remembered that some of the refreshments were offered by the local hosts ( mainly by the Local Action Groups of the area, visited by the PREPARE Gathering participants), while some national delegations had their travel costs co-financed by national governments or UNDP.