Science - February 3, 2005

Student project on new EU countries

The expansion of the EU to include the Eastern European countries has led to a big increase in the number of farmers in the Union. Has this meant changes for the small farmers among them? And how are the rural areas doing in the newly joined countries? Stichting Ruraal Wageningen (RUW) and the Stichting Boerengroep (Farmers Group) have set up a joint project that will address these questions.

The project is called Europe XL; it will last a year and consists of seminars and discussions as well as excursions and exchanges. In addition to Poland, attention will also focus on Balkan countries such as Serbia and Croatia, where war has decimated rural areas. RUW and the Boerengroep have already had contact with small-scale farmers organisations that are trying to rebuild the rural areas. Polish students in Wageningen are seeking Polish organisations to join the project.

The student groups want to attract more students from Wageningen University and Larenstein. The project kicks off on Thursday 10 February with a talk on farming in the new EU areas from Eastern Europe expert László Marácz of the University of Amsterdam. / JT

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