REVIEW OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT POLICIES IN ESSEDRA COUNTRIES
The ESSEDRA project operates in eight countries in South Eastern Europe with varying territories and population, socio-economic development and political status. The ESSEDRA project aims to support the EU integration process in the IPA countries by strengthening the capacity of and giving voice and visibility to ‘Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs) which focus on environment, agriculture, rural development and food quality. The project seeks to add value to the existing activities in the target region by facilitating knowledge and experiences exchange between CSOs, fostering closer relationships, collaboration and dialogue through a participatory approach.
During the inception period of the project (January – May 2013) the project team collected background information at national and European levels to ensure a better understanding of the needs and constraints in each country. These national reviews are synthesised in the report and are an important input for the ESSEDRA joint policy advocacy strategy.
The background reviews document numerous daunting issues and challenges related to the EU integration process and the functioning of government dialogue with civil society organisations. At the same time, one thing that is clearly present in all countries and which provides a natural connection between environmental sustainability and biodiversity richness, extensive farming production and traditional food products in them all, and that is low-intensity pastoral livestock systems. In policy circles, these are now called High Nature Value farming systems. Ironically, these valuable systems are the ones most threatened by the inadequate implementation and inappropriate interpretation of EU legislation in a range of policy areas.