European Parliament Members Tibor Szanyi (S&D) and Franc Bogovic (EPP) took it upon themselves to start a movement titled Smart Villages for Europe. The aim is to reverse the current depopulation and brain drain from rural to urban areas all across the European continent. „Smart” is the solution. Like in case of the smart cities, already existing state of the art technologies are synergised with each other in a structured system, in order to create a technological environment, which will give inhabitants of rural areas the same economic, social, educational and medical access as any urbanite enjoys. In result, life quality in rural areas will supersede that of congested urban areas and thereby lead to a better distribution of the European population overall.
With the support of the two largest political groups in the European Parliament, Franc Bogovic and Tibor Szanyi successfully secured a budget for their Smart Village vision in the EU’s 2018 budget line and are showing off their political support on lake Bled this Friday with a conference titled European Action for Smart Villages – for a brighter future of rural areas in the EU #EU4SmartVillages and http://smart-villages.info.
The conference in Bled today was hosted by Franc Bogovic, Member of the European Parliament, Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport, attended by Tibor Szanyi, Member of the European Parliament, Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, supported by Maria Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society and Corina Cretu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy.
MEP Franc Bogovic (EPP), Tibor Szanyi (S&D), Boris Koprivnikar, Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia and Minister for Public Administration, Tanja Strniša, M.Sc., State Secretary of the Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Food in Slovenia and Franc Matjaž Zupančič, State Secretary in the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy in Slovenia with the endorsement of the Prime Minister of Slovenia Miro Cerar and support of European commissioners Phil Hogan, Violeta Bulc, Mariya Gabriel and Corina Cretu signed the Bled Declaration on Smart Villages, thereby promising to move this project into the execution phase in 2019. The text of the Bled Declaration can be be found at http://pametne-vasi.info/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Bled-declaration-for-a-Smarter-Future-of-the-Rural-Areas-in-EU.pdf.
The presence Pekka Pesonen, the Secretary General Copa Cogeca, as the representative of all farmers of Europe is a strong message showcasing the importance of the Smart Village Movement which has founded starting point at the Lake Bled in Slovenia.
Tibor Szanyi: “Rural life is not solely about agriculture. It is also about girls and boys, women and men, youngsters and olds. They should not be socially or digitally abandoned. They ought to provide important services like high quality food and a clean, protected landscape. In compensation they have the right for a normal life with all the expectation one can in the 21st century, connected to the rest of Europe and the world.”
Franc Bogovič: “For me this is the beginning of a movement. A Smart Village movement, which will drastically change rural areas in Europe for the better for good.”
Phil Hogan: “Smart Villages are about rural communities taking the initiative to find practical solutions to 21st century challenges, and making the most of new opportunities. It begins with local people coming together to develop a strategy around local assets and aspirations; and it grows with policymakers investing in these people, their ideas and much-needed infrastructure and capacity building. Digital solutions can provide many of these new opportunities: connectivity can improve the quality of life and standard of living in rural areas through better jobs and services.”
Mariya Gabriel: “I greatly value the smart village movement as I hold rural areas close to my heart, European villages are rural areas and have a central role to play in the smart, sustainable economies on the 21th century.”
Corina Cretu: “Rural areas are often exposed to economic, social and technological change. I have always supported the “Smart Villages” initiative, as I believe that some 300 million EU citizens living in rural areas, with our support, can steer technological change to their advantage.”