Twenty years after the Cork declaration of 9 November 1996 on "a living countryside" that established 10 principles "to make rural areas more attractive to people to live and work in", more than 300 delegates from the 28 EU member states are again gathered in the city this week, joined by observers from China and the US. The so-called Cork 2.0 conference is one of many forums organised these days to kick-start discussions on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after the current system expires in 2020.

A recurring theme of the first day of the conference was that while the principles set out in 1996 remain valid, major events have radically changed the context in which future rural development policies will operate, especially in the past year.