Europe's agriculture and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) –
frequently asked questions
What is rural development?
Rural Development Policy seeks to maintain the vitality
of the countryside through the balanced development of rural
areas. It is an important part of the CAP.
Who runs rural development?
The Member countries
choose measures suited to their specific needs and manage their
programmes themselves. The EU pays part of the costs
How much does it cost? Where does the money come from?
The budget for 2007-13 for all
27 Member States amounts to €96 billion (current prices).
The money comes from the European Agriculture Fund for Rural
Development (EAFRD) and part of the direct payments to farmers
is now transferred to rural development through a mechanism
How is the money used?
Rural development funds can be used for both
agricultural and non-agricultural activities, such as:
extending broadband coverage
helping small businesses
helping the food processing
extending childcare so that more
mothers living in rural areas can return to work.
EU countries set their own priorities
for rural development, but must spend at least 10% of their
budget to boost the competitiveness of their farming and
forestry sectors, at least 25% to improve the environment
and the countryside and at least 10% to diversify the
How do farmers benefit?
Farmers can get help and
advice on farming, food processing and marketing.
Can rural development policy be
adapted to different regions?
Each country formulates а
for rural development but specific programmes can be designed
and implemented at regional level.
How is Rural Development policy different from Regional policy?
Regional development policy provides help mainly to the most
disadvantaged regions of the EU. Rural development policy
applies to all regions in all countries.
Rural development policy today
not only helps farmers but also people participating in the
rural economy like forest owners, farm workers, small business,
local non-governmental organisations, etc.
What is "Leader"?
'Leader' is the French acronym
for 'Links between actions for the development of the rural
economy'. As the name suggests, it is a means of improving the
rural economy by stirring local communities into action rather
than by imposing ready-made measures. Member States must spend
at least 5% of their rural development budget on Leader projects.
Can rural development
contribute to the environment?
rural development programme must include measures for the
protection and enhancement of the EU's natural resources and
landscapes in rural areas.
Rural development money is given in exchange and as compensation
for actions that, not only protect and preserve the EU
countryside, but also help fight climate change. Examples