Who we are
The Friends of the Countryside is a non-profit making organisation consisting of more than 600 private landowners and rural managers from the 28 EU Member states and beyond.
Not only does this network allow private entrepreneurs to advocate rural property rights and the important function of land management, but it also establises a dialogue between decision-makers, entrepreneurs and rural owners aiming at improving economic, environmental and social conditions of Europe’s countryside.The basic principle of this network is founded in the belief that property rights are the underlying force behind long-term projects, investments and achievements in rural areas.
Tradition and innovation are two key concepts held by the association. Tradition represents the heritage tied to the land and the resulting social responsibilities of its managers who must think and plan over many generations. Innovation reflects the efforts made by the members to profitably manage their properties for the long term, all the while respecting the vital role of land and nature for insuring a sustainable future.
In accordance with these guidelines the FCS network takes part in the global debate on the functions of land management in today’s society and its prominent role in the challenges facing the food chain and the environment.
The FCS annual congress, conferences and field visits organised each year represent good opportunities for the FCS members to discover new initiatives and ways of management, and to share their experience on issues such as farming, forestry, cultural heritage, rural development, renewable energies, family business, active entrepreneurship and transmission to the next generation.
ELO, Sister Organisation of the FCS
The European Landowners' Organisation (ELO) is committed to promoting a sustainable and prosperous countryside and to increasing awareness relating to environmental and agricultural issues. Engaging various stakeholders, the ELO develops policy recommendations and programmes of action. They organise interdisciplinary meetings gathering together key actors from the rural sector and policy makers at the local, regional, national and European level. Its ability to do all of this assures its unique position among the think tanks in the agricultural, environmental and rural activities' sectors.
The work by ELO supports a large number of rural family businesses and entreprises as well as individual actors in Europe involved in activities such as farming and agriculture, forestry and cork, wine production, hunting and fishing as well as water and waste treatment. They set out to encourage sustainable development and management, whilst promoting biodiversity, sustainable biodiversity, food safety, responsible packaging, and combating climate change. ELO also strives to uphold property rights notably in land use, real estates, historic houses and gardens.