Villages need to have a say in what smart villages are

Updated: Apr 5, 2018

‘Living next door to Alice’ first hit the charts in 1977 and then in 1995 in a parody version. The latter version of the song includes a profane phrase in the chorus (that some of us would remember singing at parties at the end of the '90s) questioning who that Alice actually was.


Smart villages 'hit the charts’ after the European Commission launched the EU Action for Smart Villages[1] as well as a pilot study on smart eco-social villages[2] in 2017. We hope that through these actions it will soon become clearer what smart villages really are.


The development of the future Multi-annual Financial Framework and the post-2020 CAP are well underway. Time is pressing to develop clear concepts that can meaningfully frame future policies. We believe that…

villages need to have a say in shaping their own future.

‘Smart villages’ is a smart concept as it is simple to communicate and has the potential to attract people’s attention. It is essential to ensure that the term 'smart villages' is filled with content and does not just become another part of EU jargon. In order to make the ‘smart village’ concept meaningful, villages need to be directly engaged in the local, national and EU-level discussions about what ‘smart villages’ are or could be and how EU programmes can support the process of ‘becoming smart’.


In this context, the stakeholder consultation planned in the framework of the Smart Village Pilot Study is welcome. This blog aims to complement EU-level actions through creating a bottom-up platform of exchange for villages. This way, it aims to contribute to the discussion on how to make ‘smart villages’ a concept that European villages and their citizens can relate to.


Dialogue among villages across Europe is particularly needed to exchange experience, have a deeper insight into the diversity of needs of villages, and understand what ‘smartness’ could entail in these diverse local contexts. (Potential) smart villages need to make their voice heard.


We are committed to support a bottom-up approach through the Smart Village Network through:

  • Bringing together villages across Europe and creating a genuine dialogue about the various aspects of the ‘smart village’ concept.

  • Offering a web-based tool and database of villages to empower them to develop smart solutions and exchange them with other European villages.

  • Making every effort to ensure that the voices of villages are heard in the European and national policy debates.

… The lyrics of ‘Living next door to Alice’ go on to say “Twenty-four years just waiting for a chance to tell her how I’m feeling…”. Villages should not wait too long to tell how they are feeling, and EU institutions would need to keep an open ear.

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/sites/agriculture/files/rural-development-2014-2020/looking-ahead/rur-dev-small-villages_en.pdf


[2] https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/calls-for-tender/115363-2017_en

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