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Rural development 2014-2020

Rural development 2014-2020

The EU’s rural development policy helps the rural areas of the EU to meet the wide range of challenges and opportunities that face them in the 21st century – economic, environmental and social. Known as the “second pillar” of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it has been improved for the period 2014-2020 through the process of wider CAP reform, via a number of legislative acts.

In line with Europe 2020 and the overall CAP objectives three long-term strategic objectives for EU rural development policy in the 2014-2020 period can be identified:

  • fostering the competitiveness of agriculture;
  • ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources, and climate action; and
  • achieving a balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities including the creation and maintenance of employment.

The 2013 reform leaves in place many of the key features of rural development policy from 2007-2013. In particular, as in the past, the policy  will be implemented through national and/or regional rural development programmes (RDPs) which run for seven years.

However, overall, the 2013 reform brings change by:

  • improving the strategic approach to constructing RDPs;
  • strengthening the content of rural development measures;
  • simplifying  rules and / or reducing the related administrative burden where possible; and
  • linking rural development policy more closely to the other ESI funds.

Member States will have to build their RDPs based upon at least four of the six common EU priorities.

  1. fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas;
  2. enhancing the viability / competitiveness of all types of agriculture, and promoting innovative farm technologies and sustainable forest management;
  3. promoting food chain organisation, animal welfare and risk management in agriculture;
  4. restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry;
  5. promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift toward a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy in the agriculture, food and forestry sectors;
  6. promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas.

In turn, each rural development priority identifies more detailed areas of intervention ("focus areas"). Within their RDPs, Member States / regions set quantified targets against these focus areas, on the basis of an analysis of the needs of the territory covered by the RDP. They then set out which measures they will use to achieve these targets and how much funding they will allocate to each measure.

Funding is drawn partly from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and partly from national / regional and sometimes private sources.

The implementation and impact of the policy is monitored and evaluated in detail.


You will find a detailed policy overview, the relevant legislation, the envisaged timetable for the adoption of the 2014-2020 RDPs and much more information on the following website:

Rural Development Gateway 2014-2020