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June 13, 2012

Europeans give thumbs up

The idea that there should be a rural parliament in Scotland – a time and a place for rural communities to gather and speak with one voice (or many ) to government and other stakeholder groups – received broad support at a recent event organised by Scottish Government.  The Cabinet Sec for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead MSP reiterated his support and speakers from rural parliaments in Sweden, Estonia, Slovenia and Netherlands enthusiastically urged Scotland to go for it.


Executive summary of full report by SAC which can be accessed here.

In its 2011 election manifesto, the Scottish national Party (SNP) made a commitment to take forward proposals for a Rural Parliament. This commitment was reaffirmed in the SNP’s 2011-2012 Programme for Government

In October 2011, researchers at SAC were asked by the Scottish Government to carry out a study of existing Rural Parliament in Europe. The aim of the study was to ‘enhance understanding of how and why Rural Parliaments operate, and the outcomes they generate, through examining international examples’.

Rural parliaments in six countries were identified for analysis in discussion with the Scottish Government : Sweden, the Netherlands, Estonia, (Swedish speaking)  Finland,Hungary and Slovakia.

The study has been undertaken in four phases: 

i) scoping and location of existing Rural parliaments 

ii)desk-based analysis of the information available about selected existing Parlaiments

iii)interviews with representatives of the Parliaments and with idividuals centrally involved with rural movements in Europe to discuss in more detailthe ways in which they operate

iv) summarising the implications of phases i)-iii) for the establishment of a rural parliament in Scotland