Today, the European Commission launched the European CAP Network during an event in Brussels gathering more than 300 participants, from the public and private sector. The EU CAP Network aims to optimise the flow of information about agriculture and rural policy within the EU, to support the implementation and evaluation of the CAP Strategic Plans, as well as boosting innovation of the sector.
The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), set to start on 1 January 2023, is designed to shape the transition to a sustainable, resilient and modern European agricultural sector. It will continue playing a key role in supporting Europe’s agricultural sector as well as strengthening the efforts of European farmers to tackle climate change and protect the environment, in line with the Commission’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
The two existing networks - the European Network for Rural Development, including its Evaluation part, and the Agricultural European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) - have merged to become the EU CAP Network. A single network gathering all interested stakeholders and parties will lead to a more efficient exchange of information and good practices, further boosting cooperation and innovation across rural Europe. This newly launched forum is open to everyone with an interest in and commitment to sustainable agriculture, forestry and rural development across the European Union, from farmers and evaluators to Local Action Groups and national CAP networks.
Among other activities, the EU CAP Network will organise thematic group meetings and capacity building workshops, as well as larger seminars for a broad audience. It will provide facts and figures on CAP programming and implementation, and will distribute a monthly newsletter with relevant information about the CAP. An Evaluation Helpdesk will also help the EU CAP Network’s stakeholders better understand how to assess the CAP’s performance and how it could be improved in the future.
Rural Inspiration Awards
The ceremony of the Rural Inspiration Awards (RIA) took place in the same event, with five winners being unveiled for the 2022 edition, under the theme 'The Future is Youth'. The Rural Inspiration Awards recognise inspiring initiatives co-funded by rural development funds (FEADER). They demonstrate the contribution of rural development policy towards a sustainable, green, competitive, sustainable, innovative and inclusive rural Europe.
Four projects were chosen by the jury out of 111 entries received from 24 Member States for the four thematic categories: Green Futures, Digital Futures, Resilient Futures, and Socially Inclusive & Innovative Futures:
- In the category Green Futures, the winning project is Woola.Woola is an Estonian company who developed an innovative system to replace plastic bubble wrap packaging with packing materials made from waste wool.
- In the category Digital Futures, the winning project is Broadband 4 Our Community. The community of Piltown/Fiddown in Ireland launched a social enterprise to build and set up the infrastructure needed for fiber broadband. Thanks to this project, the 750 homes and businesses of the towns now have access to fast broadband.
- In the category Resilient Futures, the winning project is Red Cow breed. This project restored the Greek Red Kastoria-Kristallopigi breed in Northern Greece by establishing a pedigree certification. It helped breeders to maintain their jobs and to encourage them to stay in the rural area.
- In the category Socially Inclusive & Innovative Futures, the winning project is the Centre for social inclusion in Romania. The Local Action Group Napoca Porolissum set up a social inclusion centre in the village of Gilău to offer young people a space to interact and participate in various activities and events. 250 people participated in the activities organised in the social inclusion centre and benefited from integrated social services, such as social counselling and information provision, health education, healthy lifestyle and parental education.
A fifth project – The most pessimistic town in Finland - was granted the Popular Award, based on online votes from stakeholders. The project developed a new type of territorial marketing based on pessimism, a landmark feature of the Puolanka village. By turning pessimism into a positive brand, the project used wicked humour for territorial marketing purposes. Local youth were actively involved in association activities and producing social media content.
The official launch of the EU CAP Network and the Rural Inspiration Awards was livestreamed. The recording of the event can be watched on the official EU CAP Network YouTube channel.
For more information
- Publication date
- 6 October 2022
- Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development