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The Association of Local Democracy Agencies participated in the European Congress of Rural Municipalities, which took place in Warsaw on 19-20 October 2011. The congress was organised by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Union of Rural Communes of the Republic of Poland within the framework of the Polish Council presidency. Under the patronage of Polish President Bronisław Komorowski, the event brought together Polish Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak, Adam Struzik, Marshal of the Mazovia Region, Mariusz Poznański, President of the Polish Union of Rural Communes, CoR members and over 1.000 representatives of rural municipalities.

In presentations and discussions, speakers stressed the fact that despite their diversity, Europe's rural areas face many common challenges such as high unemployment, lack of basic infrastructure or depopulation. A common strategy for rural development, uniting all EU funds, was an idea put forward by many participants, often stressing the tight links between urban and rural areas and their importance for future development.
To highlight the role of rural regions in EU policymaking, congress participants adopted the ‘Warsaw declaration’. The declaration insists on the importance of taking the needs of rural areas into account and to strike the right balance between rural and urban policies, and calls for stronger links between the rural and urban areas to develop a more integrated territorial approach.
Find the Warsaw Declaration here
Learn more about the Congress on its website.

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