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Rural Vision

Actions for stronger rural areas

Big house with trees on a yellow background

Under this action area, rural areas 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. The Commission is developing a Local Action Groups directory for 2023-2027 to help LAGs find partners for cooperation projects and exchanges.

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 Smart Rural 27

Optimising land use planning 

The Commission is carrying out a study on competition for land use and sustainable farming which is providing a sound and comprehensive analysis of the main impacts of sectoral developments on land use in the EU’s rural areas. The Commission will publish the final report by the end of 2024 with 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 

Under the EU youth strategy 2019-2027, the Commission supports young people in rural areas under the Goal #6 ‘Moving rural youth forward’.

The role of youth in rural areas was widely emphasised during the European Year of Youth 2022 (EYY):

The ‘EU-CoE Youth Partnership’ presented the study “Young people in rural areas: diverse, ignored and unfulfilled” and will publish a new study on “Opportunities for young people living in rural and remote areas in the EU in terms of non-formal learning, active citizenship and participation”. For Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, the Commission has set up a framework of inclusion measures to better reach out to a wider number of people with fewer opportunities.

See the 2022 Rural Pact conference’s session on Youth as leaders of change in rural areas (project brochurepresentations) and the April 2024 good practice webinar on “rural youth participation in policymaking” on the rural pact community platform.