On 1st January two new Horizon Europe projects, in which AEIDL is a key partner, have started. Both deal with the future of rural areas, to make them more sustainable, connected and resilient: SMART ERA and RURBANIVE.
SMART ERA led by FBK from Italy, will foster resilience in rural areas, by upgrading and co-designing, co-developing and co-validating with local communities a set of Smart Innovation Packages (SIPs) to tackle pressing socio-economic and environmental challenges and promote a community-led change.
RURBANIVE, led by ICCS from Greece, will develop 6 Rural/Urban Enablers (RUEs), innovations in six domains favouring bi-directional rural/urban synergies and a well-being economy.
In both cases AEIDL is responsible for formulating EU policy recommendations with a view to ensuring that the new EU term and the post 2027 EU budget provide more targeted support for rural areas.
In fact, AEIDL is in the unique position of having a similar role in a cluster of Horizon projects that also include FUTURAL and RURACTIVE, which put us in a strong position to advocate for innovative and sustainable local development supported by EU policies and funds.
These projects are being launched just as the EU is winding down ahead of the EU elections. Paradoxically this is a good time for the projects to start, as they will be able to influence the start of the new EU policy cycle, which will start right after the June 2024 EU elections, with a new European Parliament and Commission.
Before that, however, there will be many key developments such as the Mid Term Review of the EU Budget, the much-awaited proposals by DG AGRI on post 2027 CAP and those by DG REGIO’s High Level Group on the Future on Cohesion Policy and the 9th Cohesion Report. Therefore the Belgian EU Presidency will be full of events and meetings dealing with the future of Rural and Territorial Development policies, as it can be seem in the Priorities and its event calendar.