Brussels, 15 July 2004
The Commission has adopted a proposal to reinforce the EU’s rural development policy and to greatly simplify its implementation. Reflecting citizens’ demands to focus on the environment, food safety and quality, the Commission wants the EU’s rural development policy to play a more important role in the new, reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The proposal will increase EU funding, amounting to total EU funding of € 13.7 billion per year for 2007-2013. By introducing a single funding and programming instrument, the new policy will be much simpler to manage and control. Coherence, transparency and visibility will be increased. Member States and regions will have more freedom as to how to implement the programmes.
Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural development and Fisheries, said “One fund, one programme, one control. This is the principle of a new, more efficient, coherent and visible rural development policy.”
Commissioner Sandra Kalniete added “This is very good news, especially for those who live in rural areas of the new Member States. The proposal includes measures to address the specific needs of these areas and their people.”
Main features of the new rural development policy:
The three main objectives:
Axis 1: Improving competitiveness of farming and forestry
A minimum of 15% of the national envelope has to be spent on Axis 1. The EU co-financing rate is maximum 50% (75% in convergence regions).
Axis 2: Environment and land management
Agri-environmental measures will remain compulsory. Beneficiaries must respect the EU and national mandatory requirements for agriculture and forestry.
A minimum of 25% of the national envelope has to be spent on Axis 2. The EU co-financing rate is maximum 55% (80% in convergence regions).
Axis 3: Improving quality of life and diversification
A minimum of 15% of the national envelope has to be spent on Axis 3. The EU co-financing rate is maximum 50% (75% in convergence regions).
New approach for LEADER
Each programme must have a LEADER element for the implementation of local development strategies of local action groups. A minimum of 7% of national programme funding is reserved for LEADER. 3% of the overall funding for the period will be kept in reserve and allocated in 2012/13 to Member States with the best results.