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 “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 year.
G. Get to know each other and each other’s way of life.
H. Affirmation of unity and co-operation of the member communities.
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 brings 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 European Union.
3. If possible the projects should also be co-financed by the EU.
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 contacts on www.europeancharter.eu
F. Small meetings
1. During the year there are 3 to 5 small meetings.
2. These meetings offer the opportunity for smaller groups to talk with each other about matters concerning the Charter of the European Union.
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 community.
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 meeting.
9. A report is made by the organising village for the remaining members. The report is placed on www.europeancharter.eu.
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; programmes, photos, etc). Minutes of the presidium and mayors’ meeting are available to the mayors through the presidium.
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 organisation.
1. Young people can participate in meetings of the Charter if they are of the age between 18 and 30 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 reappointment
12. The president is assisted by an employee from his municipality who is responsible for the secretary of the Charter.
13. The vice president is assisted by an employee from his municipality who is responsible for the financial management of the Charter.
14. Administrative support for the Charter is a voluntary job.
15. The Charter pays the real costs of the administrative support.
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 Charter.
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