EU conference on ‘smart villages’ held in Hungary
A European Union conference on smart villages was held in Gödöllő, near Budapest, on Monday. The initiative is about getting small towns and villages to tap the latest advances in technology and thereby improve the quality of residents’ day-to-day lives.
Tibor Szanyi, an (Socialist) MEP and member of the committee dealing with farming and rural development, told a news conference that the scheme was designed in a way that regions and member states fill the planned framework with operational content while the European Parliament and the European Commission provide cooperation, financial resources and establish the scheme’s basic principles.
He noted that he had submitted the European eco-social villages initiative to the EP and the commission in 2015, and the EC approved the smart villages concept in 2017.
The EU provided 800,000 euros for the preparatory phase and 3.3 million euros for core tasks. The projects themselves will then receive a further 8 million euros.
Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said at the press conference that bigger cities tend to receive greater resources than small towns and villages, so the EU wants to promote the Smart Village scheme to provide resources for localities that do not have access, or have limited access, to infrastructure support.
The European Parliament Hungarian Liaison Office, one of the organisers of the conference, said in a release that the Smart Village programme aims to improve the quality of life of out-of-town settlements, mainly in the areas of the economy, education, energy management, digitization, mobility and health care, by promoting a high-tech and social environment.
The European Commission Representation in Hungary was the other main organiser of the event.