Brussels Conference 2024 – Program

Rural young people: Alternative futures for more hopeful rural societies

(Final conference of the COST Action Rural NEET Youth Network)


European Committee of Regions
Batiment Jacques Delors, Rue Belliard 99/101, 1040 Bruxelles, Belgium

12th March 2024

Event moderator: Mariano Soler (University of Málaga, Spain; Communication officer of the Rural NEET Youth Network)

Time What
09:30 – 10:00 Registration
10.00-10.30 Opening ceremony
Radim Sršeň | European Committee of Regions (NAT Commission)
Ronald de Bruin | Director of the COST Association
Maria das Dores Guerreiro | Iscte, vice-rector for internationalization
Francisco Simões | Chair of the Rural NEET Youth Network, Iscte, Portugal
10.30 –11:20 Young people’s future in the peripheries of Europe: What’s next?
Keynote speakers
Rosario Scandurra | Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Sofia Marques da Silva | University of Porto, Portugal
11:20-11:45 Coffee-break
11.45-12.45   Education & Employment: Contributions from the Rural NEET Youth Network
Heidi Paabort | Ministry on Economic Affairs and Communications and University of Tartu, Estonia
Claudia Petrescu | Research Institute for Quality of Life; University of Bucharest, Romania
Beatrice Rinaldi | DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission
12.45-14.00 Lunch (lunch break includes the video session “Members voice” starting at 13.30
14.00-15.00 Social Inclusion & Sustainability: Contributions from the Rural NEET Youth Network
Maria Fernandes-Jesus | University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Alen Mujcinovic | University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Elena Marta | Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore – Milano/Brescia
15.00-16.00 Becoming NEETer: Young people as the next rural resource
Roundtable co-organized with the EU Rural Pact
Wallis Vandebrock-Goellen | DG Regio, European Commission
Anastasia Costantini | Diesis Network Spyros Papadatos | Rural Youth Europe
16.00-16.20 Coffee-break
16.20-17.00 Wrap-up: The contribution from the European Rural Youth Observatory for the future of rural young people Oral presentation & Comment
Francisco Simões | Chair of the Rural NEET Youth Network, Iscte, Portugal
Charalampos Papaioannou | DG EAC, European Commission



COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding agency for research and innovation networks.
Our Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and enable scientists to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers. This boosts their research, career and innovation.

Official COST Web: CA18213