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Rural Vision

Actions for stronger rural areas

Big house with trees on a yellow background

Under this block of actions, rural areas will benefit from support to empower communities and have access to services to facilitate social innovation, spatial planning and youth involvement. 

The vital importance of rural territories to society must be recognised, its image and perception among urban populations and decision-makers must be improved, with a deconstruction of stereotypes.

Consultation activities for the long-term Vision
People watching a screen showing a village

Flagship: Revitalising rural areas most affected by population loss

Flagship: Creating a stronger innovation ecosystem for rural areas 

Enhanced networking for LEADER and Smart villages 

Over the past 30 years, communities have been empowered to develop local strategies with common agricultural policy funding through LEADER, extended to other funds through the so-called community-led local development. The Commission promotes enhanced networking for LEADER in the framework of the EU CAP Network. 

See LEADER related activities under the EU CAP network. 

The European Commission launched in 2017 an EU action for smart villages. Since then, thanks to the European Parliament’s support, several projects and preparatory actions have helped to develop the concept, accompany villages, explore policy options to support smart villages and make it an integral part of the policy framework for the 2023-2027 period. 

Discover the final report of Smart rural 21 and tools developed by Smart Rural 21, and follow the activities of Smart Rural 27

Optimising land use planning 

The Commission will carry out in 2023 a study on competition for land use and sustainable farming and provide a sound and comprehensive analysis of the main impacts of sectoral developments on land use in the EU’s rural areas. It will identify recommendations to foster the optimal development of land use planning to promote sustainable farming and other economic activities. 

Find out more about the closed call for tender

Supporting rural youth 

The Commission will carry out in 2023 a study that will explore the reasons for lower participation of rural young people in EU funded programmes such as ERASMUS + and European solidarity Corps, and make recommendations on how to improve the situation. 

Inclusion measures adopted in October 2021, covering all fields of education, training, youth and sport  also aim to help rural young people benefit more from these programmes.  

See Rural pact conference’s session on Youth as leaders of change in rural areas (video, project brochure, presentations)