European Week of Regions and Cities
7-10 OCTOBER 2019 Brussels

Smart Villages: overcoming the divide between rural and urban areas

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Tue 8, October 2019
09:15 - 10:45
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Smart Villages is a new concept that can be instrumental for the development of rural areas. EU rural areas are places of great assets and they can become even more attractive if we enable local actors to unlock their potential. Fostering urban-rural linkages and creating synergies can help Europe to achieve more cohesive and balanced development. Participants will be able to take part in interactive thematic discussions with practical examples on how to pursue the transition to smart villages in the fields of renewable energy, digitalisation, social innovation and mobility.

EP, DG AGRI and DG REGIO representatives will discuss with stakeholders from the mountain (Euromontana) and rural areas (RED) of Europe on policy evolution and expectations from smart villages.

Paul Soto, Senior Policy Expert, The European Network for Rural Development, Belgium.
Giorgio Ambrosino, Director, MemEx, Italy.
Franc BOGOVIC, MEP, European Parliament, Belgium.
Marie Clotteau, Director, European Association of Mountain Areas, Belgium.
Stefan Ostergard JENSEN, Policy Officer, Direcotrate General for Agriculture and Rural Development, Belgium.
Tuija Kallio, Patner, Vuolijoki Finnish Smart Village, Finland.
Gianluca Lentini, Researcher, Poliedra, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
Andrea Lorenzini, Transport Engineer, MemEx, Italy.
Clive Peckham, European Project Manager, Nièvre Numérique, France.
Gerard Peltre, Président, Association internationale Ruralité – Environnement - Développement (R.E.D.), France.
Iva Pocock, Communications Coordinator, ECOLISE : European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability, Ireland.
Josh Roberts, Policy Officer, European federation of renewable energy cooperatives (REScoop), Belgium.
Bill Slee, Emeritus Fellow, James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom.
Paul Soto, Senior Policy Expert, The European Network for Rural Development, Belgium.
Eleftherios Stavropoulos, Policy Officer, Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy, Belgium.
Dirk Vansintjan, President, REScoop.eu, Belgium.
Dirk Vanstintjan, President, European federation of renewable energy cooperatives (REScoop), Belgium.
08PL627
Participatory Lab - world café, ideas labs
A Europe Closer to Citizen
European Commission - DG AGRI, European Commission - DG REGIO, European Network of Rural Development
english (en)
Building SQUARE - Brussels Convention Centre, Room Hall 100.
Address: Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels

Session summary

Participants at the event took part in interactive thematic discussions and explored practical examples of how to pursue the transition to Smart Villages, with regard to:

·       renewable energy: led by experts from the European federation of renewable energy cooperatives who presented how this business model, where citizens jointly own and participate in renewable energy or energy efficiency projects, can help revitalise rural areas.

·       digitalisation: led by experts from Politecnico di Milano and Laposte net who focused on the potential of digital technologies to help tackle important and urgent economic, social, climate and environmental challenges facing rural areas.

·       social innovation: with experts from Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA), a project funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Social innovation can bring new solutions to problems in rural areas, especially in marginalised rural areas, which must re-invent their role, and their capacity to innovate.

·     mobility: led by experts from the SMARTA project. The discussions focused on rural public transport services in Europe that are under stress, due to a combination of factors including austerity measures, demographic change and poor connectivity in terms of transport and telecommunications infrastructure.

Representatives from the EP, DG AGRI and DG REGIO discussed with stakeholders from the mountainous (Euromontana) and rural areas (RED) of Europe on policy evolution and expectations from smart villages. MEP Franc Bogovic outlined the initiatives taken within the European Parliament to support Smart Villages through the future CAP and talked about the launch of an Intergroup on Smart Villages to further share knowledge and experience.

DG AGRI representative underlined that in the future CAP, Managing Authorities will have the opportunity to support Smart Villages through the CAP Strategic Plans. In this context, Member States will have the flexibility to decide on the type of interventions are needed for their specific local context.

Representative of DG REGIO focused at how can Smart Villages address the urban-rural divide and analysed how the future Cohesion policy post 2020 tools like the Community Led Local Development (CLLD) and Integrated Territorial Investments (ITI) can help to overcome this challenge.

From the grassroots level, Euromontana discussed the potential of social innovation in the most remote and isolated mountainous areas, as a solution to help their potential.

Ruralité-Environnement-Développement (R.E.D) stressed that different places have different starting points and it is important to base the action on where people are. Many places need capacity building but also they need a local vision of where they want go and what they want to achieve.

The vision of Smart Village Vuolijoki located in the middle of Finland, on the south coast of Lake Oulujärvi and the case of ecovillage in Cloughjordan in County Tipperary in Ireland were presented.

Take away message

Smart Villages is a new concept that can be instrumental for the development of rural areas. EU rural areas are places of great assets and they can become even more attractive if we enable local actors to unlock their potential. Fostering urban-rural linkages and creating synergies can help Europe to achieve more cohesive and balanced development.



·       “The CAP proposal for the future includes very flexible funding opportunities for Smart Villages – for example support for cooperation, investments, broadband, trainings, and through LEADER. Member States should design interventions that complement existing initiatives, according to the needs of local people.” – Stefan Jensen-Ostegard, DG AGRI

·       “The CAP proposal for the future includes very flexible funding opportunities for Smart Villages – for example support for cooperation, investments, broadband, trainings, and through LEADER. Member States should design interventions that complement existing initiatives, according to the needs of local people.” – Stefan Jensen-Ostegard, DG AGRI

·       “We have come to a key question: how to build human capital where is lacking? We have seen many different examples. But this local capacity needs to be helped to emerge, and sometimes this needs to be accompanied by professionals, and this is where policy could help.” – Marie Cloteau, Euromontana

 “It is important that we have a European Rural Agenda. RED has been calling for this since a long time in partnership with the European countryside movements, and national associations. The European Rural Agenda will give a framework to rural development in a broad sense.” – Marie Noel Neven, RED

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  • Posted by: Sergio DIANA
    On: 06/10/2019 - 18:54pm

    DEPOPULATION ..... WHICH FUTURE FOR EUROPE WITHOUT SMALL VILLAGES?

    Balentes, an european project for "The well-being, prosperity and happiness for the inhabitants of smallest villages of Europe"; Let's talk about it!
    • Posted by: Eleftherios STAVROPOULOS
      On: 07/10/2019 - 10:03am

      Balentes, a european project for "The well-being, prosperity and happiness for the inhabitants of smallest villages of Europe"

      Looking forward to hear more during the workshop. Consider also sending the case of Balentes to be registered at the smart villages portal which has interesting cases of smart villages . https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/28SN99Q
      • Posted by: Sergio DIANA
        On: 07/10/2019 - 10:54am

        Balentes

        Thank you very much!! I joined the smart villages portal..very interesting! Unfortunately my request to join this workshop was not accepted but I will discuss it in other workshops and, on October 9th from 18.30 to 20, at Building SQUARE, Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels....We'll meet us inside the building but outside the conference room where the Partner's meeting is held.
        • Posted by: Eleftherios STAVROPOULOS
          On: 07/10/2019 - 10:56am

          request to join this workshop

          The workshop is high on demand and fully booked. However in all events there is a percentage of people who register and then do not show up. So if you have already been accepted for other workshops and you have access to the building come to Room Hall 100 where the workshop is taking place and if there are empty places we would be happy to have you with us
          • Posted by: Sergio DIANA
            On: 07/10/2019 - 11:07am

            Participation request

            Thank you.... I'll try! Anyway I'll send you a brief description of the project.
  • Posted by: Dariia Kupriienko
    On: 02/10/2019 - 21:25pm

    Participation request

    Dear organizers! I have got rejection for this session. Is it possible to take part in it, If any of the registered participants refuse or not show up?
    • Posted by: Eleftherios STAVROPOULOS
      On: 03/10/2019 - 09:59am

      Participation request

      The workshop is high on demand and fully booked. However in all events there is a percentage of people who register and then do not show up. So if you have already been accepted for other workshops and you have access to the building come to Room Hall 100 where the workshop is taking place and if there are empty places we would be happy to have you with us