‘We are the future of rural areas – we cannot be forgotten’

The three main European organisations representing rural youth and young farmers – CEJA, Rural Youth Europe and MIJARC Europe – launched their 2019 EU elections manifesto yesterday, Monday, April 8.

The document, titled “Empowering Young Farmers and Rural Youth”, was released on the occasion of the “EU Young Farmer Speed Dating” event hosted by CEJA in Brussels.

The event brought young farmers, rural youth and candidate MEPs together to discuss the key priorities and challenges for young farmers and rural youth in the years ahead.

The manifesto focuses on seven key areas: education; investments; social fabric; health; connectivity; climate change; and the organisations in rural communities.

Its overarching aim is to raise awareness among politicians and stakeholders about the importance of the EU to rural communities, to highlight the challenges rural communities are facing and to offer concrete solutions to these problems.

“This manifesto is a call to action to keep the needs of Europe’s rural youth in mind in future political discussions,” said CEJA president Jannes Maes.

“Young people are crucial to keeping rural communities alive while also providing a vital workforce to Europe’s countryside.

They will be the ones working, investing in and preserving the environment and traditions of rural areas in the years to come and they cannot be forgotten.

Rural Youth Europe board member Anja Mager: “Rural youth is getting more and more aware of the crucial role we are having in rural areas. But just we as rural youth, are not enough.

“Europe must be aware of the importance of young farmers and rural youth to the lives of everyone. That’s why we wrote this manifesto: To explain to the new MEPs why they need to have in mind the demands of Europe’s rural youth in their political decisions.

We are the future of rural areas. We cannot be forgotten, we need to be heard.

MIJARC Europe board member Claire Perrot-Minot concluded, noting: “Rural areas are and have to stay attractive living areas. Our three European organisations representing rural youth and young farmers are working all year long to achieve this.

“With this manifesto we call for the newly elected European Parliament to join our actions and include rural areas in their policies,” she said.

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