Credit: MA

On Wednesday 24 April 2024, Luxembourg’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Viticulture announced the prioritisation of the development and quality of life in rural regions as a key priority for the coming years.

The quality of life of the inhabitants of our 79 rural communes is close to my heart and village development is a political priority for the coming years,” declared Martine Hansen, Luxembourg’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Viticulture, addressing more than 200 municipal representatives gathered during recent information evenings in Hosingen and Schoos.

While rural development policy has entered a new programming period (2023-2027), the ministry’s new objective is to support village development, strengthen the attractiveness of villages and diversify the local economy. To this end, eight measures will be supported:

  • improving basic services for the rural population;
  • the development of recreational, cultural and tourist infrastructure and equipment;
  • the conservation and enhancement of natural and cultural heritage;
  • the creation of educational and reception structures by active farmers or by micro-enterprises in local arts and crafts;
  • advice and training in the context of village development;
  • the development of sustainable socio-economic activities and the marketing of regional products;
  • the acquisition of rolling stock by active farmers for the marketing of local agricultural products;
  • citizen participation projects;
  • support citizen participation and simplify procedures.

A new feature is the recruitment of project managers for village development in the five LEADER regional offices Éislek, Mëllerdall, Miselerland, Wëlle Westen and Zentrum Westen. Following the motto “Mënschen.Gestalten.Regiounen”(people shape regions) of the LEADER initiative, these officers will listen to citizens and municipal officials in order to guide them in the development of participatory and diversified projects. According to Martine Hansen, “the active participation of citizens in the formulation of municipal projects is essential, and experience has shown us that citizen initiatives often have the greatest success.

Rural municipalities encouraged to propose innovative projects

Since 1989, the ministry noted that more than 610 village development projects have been carried out in varied areas such as the diversification of agriculture, the promotion of regional products, the development of local and rural tourism, the protection of cultural and natural heritage, the support for cultural life, continuing education and even local entrepreneurship.

Village development measures are coordinated by the Directorate of Rural Development of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Viticulture and are financed by national funds. Minister Martine Hansen strongly encouraged stakeholders in the 79 rural municipalities to initiate rural development projects within the framework of the funding lines provided for this purpose.