Terra Madre Balkans 2018: The Balkans’ Role in Sustainable Rural Development in the EU

23 May 2018 | English

After four previous editions in Sofia (2010, 2012), Dubrovnik (2014), and Tirana (2016), the Terra Madre Balkans network gathered at the heart of the European debate in a moment that is crucial for defining the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) beyond 2020.

At Terra Madre Balkans 2018, over 100 delegates from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, FYR Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia represented the diverse potential of Terra Madre Balkans in terms of its rich biodiversity, food traditions, and sustainable agricultural practices.

To celebrate the International Day of Biodiversity on May 22, the conference at the European Parliament brought rural communities, small-scale food producers, chefs, activists, youth, and academics from the region face-to-face with policymakers from EU institutions in order to demonstrate different means for promoting the rich Balkan heritage as a source of innovation and social entrepreneurship in the region.

Participants at the fifth edition of Terra Madre Balkans share the opinion that the integration of the Western Balkan countries into the EU is a major political goal that will ensure stability and development in the region.

Slow Food recently conducted a survey of 10,000 small-scale farmers from across the EU in order to contribute to the debate on the future of the CAP. The participants at the fifth edition of Terra Madre Balkans echoed the results of the survey and acknowledge the need for:

  • reduced bureaucracy and increased support for marginal and rural areas and young people;
  • more flexible implementation of hygiene rules and EU quality schemes to sustain artisan food producers in their efforts to preserve food diversity;
  • dedicated funding schemes to map food diversity in the Balkans and better integrate its biological, ecological, social, and cultural resources in the sustainable development of rural areas.

They also believe that economic prosperity in rural areas is a major driver of cooperation in the Balkans, and thus necessary for the successful integration of the Western Balkan countries into the EU. Final conclusions are available here.

The fifth edition of Terra Madre Balkans was organized by Slow Food Balkans, together with EPP Members of the European Parliament from Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania who participate in the European Parliament delegations for relations with the countries from the Western Balkans. Terra Madre Balkans was made possible thanks to the contributions of the European Commission and the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Bulgaria to the EU.

Anne-Marie Matarrese
Slow Food – Communication Director, Brussels Office +32 (0) 28932488; [email protected]

Paola Nano
Slow Food – International Press Office Director +39 329 8321285; [email protected]


Established by Slow Food in 2010, Terra Madre Balkans is the network that brings together rural communities, food producers, chefs, activists, youth, and academics from throughout Southeastern Europe. Terra Madre Balkans was established to give a voice to small-scale food producers and rural communities, and to support them in upgrading their production from homemade to artisan, advocating for their social and political recognition, and supporting their access to markets.

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