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Rural development

Rural development policy is the second pillar of the EU’s common agricultural policy. It seeks to help the EU’s rural areas address the economic, environmental and social challenges that they face. It has three long-term objectives:

  • to foster competitive farming;
  • to manage natural resources sustainably and implement climate action measures;
  • to achieve balanced territorial development in rural areas, including creating and maintaining jobs.

Most EU funding available for rural development is available from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) which runs for the 2014-20 period and has a budget of €95  billion.

The policy is implemented by means of 7-year rural development programmes drawn up in partnership with the EU. These focus on the following six priorities:

  1. Knowledge transfer and innovation;
  2. Competitiveness of all types of farming and sustainable management of forests;
  3. Promoting food chain organisation;
  4. Restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems;
  5. Promoting resource efficiency and the transition to a low-carbon economy;
  6. Promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas.

The principles, rules and standards for the implementation of the EAFRD, as for the other European Structural and Investment Funds, are laid down in Regulation (EU) N  1303/2013.