About us

In 1988, the European Association for Rural Development and Village Renewal (ARGE) was officially founded. The European Association for Rural Development and Village Renewal is a non-bureaucratic association of government representatives, scientists, as well as village renewal experts, and in the mean time, also local politicians and representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). At present, it has European member countries and member regions, namely Bavaria, German-speaking Community of Belgium, Burgenland, Hesse, Carinthia,  Luxembourg, Lower Austria, Opole, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Salzburg, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Tyrol, Styria, Thuringia, Tyrol, Czech Republic, Hungary, Vorarlberg, Hinterstoder and the Niedersächsische Akademie Ländlicher Raum.

Aims & Activities

It is the ARGE´s foremost aim to promote an international exchange of experience, in particular between countries and regions of the EU member states and the transition countries of the East. Further, it strives to motivate those concerned and to create a positive public opinion for the interests of people in rural areas and thus give the best possible support to the preservation and formation of viable, attractive villages. On this basis, in different European regions, lots of activities have been launched which focus on ecological, economical, sociological and cultural issues of village life. Apart from international congresses, conferences, symposia and regular study trips there are to call competitions for the European Village Renewal Prize held on a biannual basis.

Organization

The European Association for Rural Development and Village Renewal is headquartered in Vienna, i.e. within the premises of the Ecosocial Forum Austria. The only deciding body of the ARGE is the official council in which every member country or region is represented by a politician and a civil servant. The council holds meetings, at least once a year and decides which activities and thematic focuses shall be set. Erwin Pröll, the federal Governor of Lower Austria, is the head of the European Association for Rural Development and Village Renewal.

Membership of the European Association for Rural Development and Village Renewal is available upon payment of a membership fee, the amount of which varies according to the economic circumstances and population of the country or region concerned, and ranges between 2,500 – 15,000 EURO. Informal applications for membership may be made at any time.

Membership benefits

Being a member of the European Association on rural development and village renewal entitles you to:

  • Information: The Association researches, compiles, documents and publishes interesting up-to-date documents on rural development and village renewal within the European Union and various European countries and regions. Members will be invited to congresses and conferences, shall receive the magazine “Dorferneuerung international” and be entitled to participate in study trips.
  • Contacts: Since the Association is represented on the European Commission’s “rural development” advisory committee, it has excellent contacts to decision-makers in the European Union as well as various European institutions dealing with issues of village renewal. In this regard, special attention is also drawn to the contacts with leading influential exponents from the member countries of the Association, which are maintained through the sessions of the advisory committee that are held on an annual basis.
  • Exchange of experience: The biannual competition for the European village renewal prize (which member regions can take part in by paying considerably reduced fees) as well as the official advisory committee sessions, work meetings and wide range of events organised by the Association for its members permit the latter to access the experiences of others, to build up international partnerships and to pass on their own skills and expertise.
  • Public relations: The major international reputation and professional media relations of the Association enable the concerns, needs and, above all, the services of its member regions together with their inhabitants to be published and broadcast in the print media, on radio and on television, so that the whole of society and political decision makers are clearly informed about such issues.

In Europe, rural development and village renewal have grown into a broad civil movement and have at the same time established themselves as a political factor. The diverse and numerous activities of the European Association for Rural Development and Village Renewal have contributed their share here.