The SWG Secretary General moderated the plenary sessions during the Study Tour on Rural Development. The Study Tour on Rural Development was organized by the European Commission – Technical Assistance Information Exchange Instrument (TAIEX) in cooperation with the Committee of the Regions.
The aim of this Study Tour was to present the EU policy on rural development to representatives of local and regional authorities coming from the Western Balkan countries and to give them the opportunity to exchange their experience and establish closer cooperation. Besides the general information about the functioning and decision-making of the EU, participants on the Study Tour had an opportunity to get introduced to the EU policy on rural development, in particular the Community strategic guidelines for rural development, the support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the financing of the Common Agricultural Policy and the establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).
Approximately thirty participants on the Study Tour had an opportunity to meet with members of the Community of Regions working on issues related to rural development and external relations. They also visited an office representing an EU Member State’s region in Brussels (the region of Extramadura, Spain), where they were informed about how the region deals with a regional and rural development policy. The participants on the Study Tour were introduced to umbrella organizations working in the field of rural development to exchange views and best practices with their counter parts in EU Member States as well.