Rural development

Predominantly rural areas make up half of Europe and represent around 20 % of the population. However, most of the rural areas are also among the least favoured regions in the EU, with a GDP per head significantly below the European average.

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In order to help rural regions grow and raise employment and living standards, the European Union’s rural development policy has set three overarching objectives: improving the competitiveness of agriculture, achieving sustainable management of natural resources and climate action, and a balanced territorial development of rural areas. EU cohesion policy shares these objectives. The European regional development fund (ERDF) and the European social fund (ESF) therefore work to complement the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD).