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Strengthening democracy in rural areas: SRLE recommendations

In a recent statement, the German Advisory Council of Rural Development (SRLE) at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture recommends a quick implementation of the recently adopted Federal Government's Democracy Strategy and gives further advice with respect to rural areas.

Members of the Advisory Council deliver the statement to the BMEL representative

Delivery of the statement in the BMEL (from left to right: Prof. Dr. Peter Weingarten, Parliamentary State Secretary Claudia Müller, Prof. Dr. Claudia Neu, Dr. Hartmut Berndt, Grit Körmer)

Many people are becoming less satisfied with the democratic system and far-right forces are gaining strength in many places. In Germany, for example, this can be seen in the sharp rise in the AfD's share of the vote in various elections.

Against this backdrop and other developments that threaten democracy, the SRLE makes the following recommendations to the federal, state and local governments:

  • Implement the Federal Government's Democracy Strategy swiftly and consistently
  • Equivalent living conditions - focus more on rural areas in policies
  • Strengthen confidence in state institutions
    • Improve the ability of local authorities to act
    • Improve legislation and practicability
  • Strengthen cohesion - expand local organising processes
  • Promote gender equality in politics
  • Expand youth and education work to strengthen democracy
  • Expand research on spatial determinants of right-wing extremist attitudes and voting preferences

"Although the SRLE's recommendations are aimed at political actors at all levels of government, we all have to take action," says Prof. Dr. Peter Weingarten, Director of the Thünen Institute of Rural Areas and member of the SRLE. In the words of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in his speech on January 21, 2024: "The future of our democracy does not depend on the loudness of its opponents - but on the strength of those who defend democracy".

The entire statement (in German language) is available here



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