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Agriculture and rural development

Previous rural development programming periods

Rural development support 2007-13

Support for rural development in 2007-13 evolved from supporting structural adjustment in agriculture to better reflecting the multiple role of farming in the wider rural context. Policy put a greater emphasis on implementing a coherent strategy for rural development across the EU as a whole, with a focus on three themes in particular:

  • improving the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector;
  • improving the environment and the countryside;
  • improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging diversification of the rural economy.

Rural development support 2000-06

Rural development became the second pillar of the CAP in 2000, introduced as part of the Agenda 2000 reform and bringing together various pre-existing structural and territorial measures under a common umbrella. Rural development support during this period focused on:

  • the multifunctionality of agriculture, recognising its varied role over and above the production of foodstuffs and the range of services provided by farmers;
  • a multisectoral and integrated approach to the rural economy in order to diversify activities, create new sources of employment and protect rural heritage;
  • flexible aids based on subsidiarity and promoting decentralisation, consultation at regional, local and partnership level;
  • transparency in drawing up and managing programmes, based on simplified and more accessible legislation.