Policy Initiatives & Strategic Approaches

Research and KnowledgeGet inspiredConnect with othersSmart Villages ToolkitEventsThematic group information

Many European, national and regional actors are developing and implementing policy initiatives which contribute to Smart Villages (see EU Action for Smart Villages) even when they do not use exactly the same name.

The EU Rural Review on Smart Villages shows that these initiatives are often driven by growing concern for the major challenges affecting rural areas such as depopulation and access to services (see the example of Inner Areas Strategy in Italy).

At the same time, there is increasing recognition of the need to enable rural communities to make the most of new opportunities offered by a digital transformation (see the examples of Smart Countryside in Finland and Digital Villages Platform in Germany), the transition to a low-carbon and circular economy (see the Artic Smart Community Cluster example), new forms of urban-rural linkages (see the example of Reciprocity Contracts in France), emerging value chains and others.

The scope and growth of these initiatives have been documented in an EU-wide analysis carried out by the ENRD Contact Point in 2017 and a further scoping paper in 2018.

An important EU initiative on Smart Villages is the Preparatory Action on Smart Rural Areas in the 21st Century supported the European Commission (DG AGRI) for the period 2020-2023. The aim of this action is to promote and inspire villages to develop and implement Smart Village approaches and strategies across Europe, and to support future CAP interventions on Smart Villages.

The sections below include the key EU policy initiatives and statements, some of the most useful ENRD resources on Smart Villages, as well as relevant national policy initiatives.