Since 1989 small rural communities, one from
each of the countries of the European Union have a bond of
friendship, which is registered in the so-called "Charter of
European Rural Communities".
From every member state of the European Union there is one rural
community represented in the Charter.
Objectives of the Charter:
A. European integration under the motto,
“People meet people”.
B. Be a structural network.
C. Organise an annual network meeting.
D. Stimulate the members to co-operate in different projects.
E. Stimulate bilateral exchanges between the members.
F. Stimulate small meetings of member communities throughout the
G. Get to know each other and each other’s way of life.
H. Affirmation of unity and co-operation of the member
I. Enlargement of the Charter in line with the official
enlargement of the EU.
J. Have an efficient and transparent organisation.
Increase the European integration by bringing
European citizens together to the “Kitchen table”.
1. The network is the instrument to offer the
inhabitants of the connected communities the opportunity to look
literally across the borders.
2. The network is used to promote the mutual understanding in
all possible areas.
3. The network is meant to bring Europe closer to the citizens.
C. Annual network meeting.
1. This meeting is alternately organised by
one of the member communities.
2. During the annual meeting the mayors of the connected
communities decide about which communities will organise the
future annual meetings.
3. From each member community a delegation, consisting of a
maximum of 10 persons, participates.
4. The members themselves set up the delegations.
5. At least 4 of the delegation should be young people.
6. The network meeting is based on a current theme. There is a
special programme for the youth, they also have a current theme
(can be the same as the theme for the adults).
The hosting community will propose the theme for the annual
meeting during the mayors' meeting in the previous year.
7. It is recommended to organise the annual meeting at the end
of April or the beginning of May. This period is the most
convenient as far as school and examinations are concerned.
1. The member communities themselves initiate
the projects and ask other members to participate.
2. The projects should be connected to the projects of the
3. If possible the projects should also be co-financed by the
4. It concerns especially the projects which are intended for
the European countryside.
E. Bilateral contacts
1. Every community initiates once or twice a
year a bilateral exchange.
2. It is recommended to place a report and photos of these
F. Small meetings
1. During the year there are 3 till 5 small
2. These meetings offer the opportunity for smaller groups to
talk with each other about matters concerning the Charter of the
3. Every member community can organise a small meeting.
4. The annual mayors' meeting decides about who can organise a
small meeting in the following year.
5. It is expected that every charter member takes part in one
small meeting a year.
6. A maximum of 5 different communities visit the host
7. Basis is two participants of the local committee per country,
unless conditions for (European) grants ask otherwise.
8. The participants make a functional contribution to the
9. A report is made by the organising village for the remaining
members. The report is placed on
10. Beside the visiting countries, the President or
Vice-President must be one of the participants.
G. Getting to know each other
To enable people to get to know each other and
each other’s way of life optimally, participants in events,
exchanges and projects stay at guest families of the organising
community or its neighbour-villages.
H. Affirmation of unity and co-operation
1. By signing the Charter the communities
affirm the principle of unity and working together.
2. The members also have the obligation to communicate with each
other and to inform each other.
3. The Internet site
www.europeancharter.eu is used for contact, communication
and to publish information (reports of bilateral and small
meetings; minutes of the presidium and mayors' meeting,
programmes, photos, etc)
4. Every member has an appointed communication officer to
maintain mutual contacts.
5. The central communication officer of the Charter has been
coupled to the presidency.
6. The English language is the communication language.
I. Enlargement of the Charter.
With the enlargement of the EU, the Charter
will accordingly invite new members to be part of its
1. Young people can participate in meetings of
the Charter if they are of the age between 18 and 26 in the year
of the meeting.
2. If there are meetings, especially for young people, then
people younger than 18 can participate if accompanied by and
under the responsibility of adults.
3. The Charter advices municipalities and / or foundations
“Friends of Europe” to invest in the young people of their
community and to make them part of their organisation.
4. During the annual network meeting there is a mayors' meeting
of all member communities to confirm or reformulate the future
policy of the Charter and to inform each other about projects.
5. There is an annual meeting of all young representatives,
similar to the meeting of the mayors.
6. One or two members of the presidium will be present at the
meeting of the young representatives.
7. The annual financial contribution of the members to the
Charter is determined at the mayors' meeting. This contribution
is at present € 400,-- per community.
8. The Charter has a presidium of at least 5 and at most 7
members, chosen by the mayors during their meeting, for a period
of 4 years with the possibility of reappointment.
9. Cissé (France) is always a member of the presidium, because
the Charter was founded there.
10. The presidium has a president, a vice-president, a second
vice president and members.
11. The president is appointed by the mayors during their
meeting for a period of 4 years with the possibility of one
12. The president is assisted by an employee from his
municipality who is responsible for the secretary of the
13. The vice president is assisted by an employee from his
municipality who is responsible for the financial management of
14. Administrative support for the Charter is a voluntary job.
15. The Charter pays the real costs of the administrative
16. Members of the Charter can candidate themselves for the
presidium (if there is a function vacant).
17. The presidium prepares the mayors' meeting.
18. The vice president and his assistant annually provide a
financial report during the mayors' meeting.
19. The presidium has a meeting a few times a year to adjust the
policy where necessary and to talk about the organisation of the
20. The Charter pays the travel costs and if necessary the costs
for the stay during the meetings of the presidium.
Troisvierges, December 8th 2007
Adapted: Haaren, January 20th 2009