Rural Development and large carnivores
EU Rural Development Policy provides support for preventive actions aimed at mitigating the risk of damages done by large carnivores and it is possible to support investments intended to protect against damages from large carnivores (e.g. fences, guarding dogs or shepherding). However, it does not include payments to compensate damages already done by large carnivores.
The Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) form the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy and support rural areas across the EU to meet the economic, environmental and social challenges of the 21st century. They are financed with national and regional financing combined with the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Each EU country receives a financial allocation for the programming period through the EAFRD which can also be regionalised within the Member State. This is co-financed with national funding.
The RDPs cannot be used to compensate for damages caused by large carnivores. This can be paid through state aid (see this briefing for more information). The RDPs can however finance a range of measures to protect livestock and beehives from large carnivores.
There are 20 measures and 60 sub-measures in the EAFRD regulation for the 2014-20 Programme (see also Annex 1, Part 5 of the implementing regulation for a description). Some of them have direct relevance to protected species including large carnivores while others having broader cross-cutting aims. In practice, four measures are widely used for coexistence measures (4.1 Investment in physical assets; 4.4 Non-productive investment; 7.6 Studies / investments natural heritage; 10.1 Agri-environment-climate).
Use of RDPs across the EU (Marsden and Hovardas, 2020)
However, since coexistence is a complex area, including a range of activities, theoretically many EAFRD measures could be of more or less direct relevance. The most relevant measures for good practices for coexistence are summarised in the table below (see the report for a fuller description of the measures and good practice categories).
* Measure codes are used in the EU regulation and the Member States’ programmes. They are listed in Annex 1, Part 5 of the implementing regulation: www.eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:3201
Engaging with the rural development programmes
If measures to manage coexistence are included in a Member States programme, potential beneficiaries can apply for them and receive support. If they are not included, the programmes can still be amended. The discussions about amending the programme should be carried out also in the context of the Programme Monitoring Committee (the group charged with overseeing the implementation of the programme and consider any amendments). A list of Committee members can be obtained from your ministry (see contact points for each Member State).
EU Platform work on the Rural Development Programmes
Contact points for each Member State for Rural Development Programmes
Country files for rural development programmes including full texts and fact sheets
Summary files for all programmes from the ENRD