The ECI petition to protect our rural livelihoods

Europe has many cultural traditions linked to its agricultural, rural-based communities and European citizens take great pride in these traditions. But today, our rural regions are slowing losing part of their heritage, the population, and values, which may threaten 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 rural communities, a renewed commitment to the promotion of regional heritage, sustainable rural growth and rising living standards is needed. The rural sectors and those working in them face diminishing incentives and increasing pressure to not only sustain but often defend their livelihoods. If not addressed, this will lead to the extinction of some of Europe’s most foundational communities and values.

It is with this in mind that a European Citizens Initiative was launched recently to Protect the EU’s Rural Heritage, Food Security and Supply. The scope of the ECI is broad, including all agricultural activities and recent concerns over European food security and it aims to reach 1 million signatures before the 1st of November 2023.

The ECI calls on the European Commission to modernise its rural commitments with a plan to strengthen and preserve  rural regions by developing regional heritage-focused tourism, education and industry across the EU, promoting investment and raising living standards in rural communities. It also calls for promotion and support for environmentally sustainable rural production of goods, food and other agricultural outputs across EU Member States, taking into account the need for sustained food security and agricultural materials supply that are the backbone of rural life.

Once the 1 million signatures are obtained, the European Commission must then respond and take action. Proposed actions should promote rural jobs, practices, and activities such as family to large-scale agriculture, gamekeeping, horticulture and natural fibre production in the textile industry which are all at the heart of rural communities.

To sign the petition, click here.