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Commissioner urges PREPARE to continue its work

Dacian Ciolos, EU Agriculture Commissioner, praised the work of PREPARE in mobilising civil society, and urged that it should continue this work, particularly in the EU accession countries and the Neighbourhood states.
The Commissioner was speaking as an informal meeting of key players in rural development in the EU, held in Brussels on 11 July to mark the publication of PREPARE’s new book, Community Spirit wins’.  

‘The commitment of rural people is vital for the process of rural development’, said the Commissioner. ‘This book, recording PREPARE’s successful work since 2000, is far more than a legacy. It should be a stimulus for mobilising people to improve their own futures in the wider Europe.  TH EU programmes in the accession countries, and through the Neighbourhood Policy for south eastern Europe and the southern Mediterranean, will include rural development. Strengthening civil society is a vital part of that work.    PREPARE can help to ensure that the people themselves are active: someone has to do the work on the spot.’

This call for continued action by PREPARE was echoed by Blerand Stavilevci, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for Kosovo, who is president of the Standing Working Group on Rural Development in South Eastern Europe. Speaking for the group of 11 governments of former Yogoslav states, plus Albania and Bulgaria, Mr Stavilevci said that these countries are working together to tackle the problems of economic decline and the loss of young people.  They wish to achieve sustainable economic development, across the borders between countries, and to maintain the rural traditions of the region. They know that cooperation between governments and civil society is the crucial element in rural development programmes, and they recognize the experience that PREPARE  has gained in activating rural people.   

Mr Stavilevci
welcomed the prospect of cooperation between PREPARE and the Standing Working group. He invited PREPARE to be represented at the Agricultural Policy Forum in October, and the Annual Inter-Ministerial Conference in November. 

Responding, PREPARE Coordinator Goran oster stressed PREPARE’s aim to build bridges between civil society and governments. PREPARE is now actively focused on supporting the work of civil society in the countries of south eastern Europe. Governments and civil society organisations from that region will be represented at PREPARE’s annual Gathering, to be held in Bosnia & Herzegovina in September 2013.