Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan, who announced the move at Green Week in Berlin, said these hubs will become a major driver for innovation and job creation in the rural economy.
He was speaking during a follow-up seminar to last September’s Cork 2.0 conference where a coalition of stakeholders launched a 10-point plan for the future of rural development.
Mr. Hogan said the European Network for Rural Development has just published a list of actions to implement the Cork declaration.
The European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) is also organising a workshop in Bratislava in April to directly address the biggest stumbling block for digitisation: data ownership.
A major conference in Lisbon next October is being jointly organised with the Portuguese authorities to discuss what current rural development policy can do to stimulate innovation.
“I am also pleased to announce that we will come forward with an action plan on smart villages. Our aim is to enhance synergies between different policies and embed this into strategies for rural areas. As part of this work we will also launch a pilot project on smart eco-social villages,” he said.
Mr Hogan said he will shortly launch a public consultation on CAP reform with a view to publishing a communication in the autumn.
He reiterated his commitment to ensuring that the aspirations and recommendations of the Cork Declaration are well reflected in the communication.