The European Commission has today approved a further 18 Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) aimed at improving the competitiveness of the EU farming sector, caring for the countryside and climate, and strengthening the economic and social fabric of rural communities in the period until 2020. These 18 programmes will see funding worth 14.3 billion EUR from the EU budget, which will be co-financed by further public funding at national/regional level and/or private funds. Coming after the 9 programmes cleared in December, today's adoptions bring the number of approved RDPs up to 27 (out of 118 programmes), meaning that programmes worth more than 35 billion EUR (roughly 36% of the budget) have now been approved.
Welcoming today's decisions, EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: "One of the great strengths of our Rural Development concept is that we have core priorities, but it is up to each Member State or region to design a programme which suits its situation and challenges – whether this is the Azores, the Åland islands, Flanders or Slovakia. Today's programmes offer funding for a range of dynamic projects, varying from modernisation projects for agriculture in the Baltic Republics, and encouraging more young farmers to enter the sector in Slovenia, to specific schemes to improve water quality in the Netherlands or protecting 2.5 million hectares of farmland in England through environmental land management schemes. Boosting the knowledge base of our farm sector is an important aspect of the RDPs. I am pleased to confirm that the 18 programmes adopted today will, together, provide more than one million places on training courses".
Support for Rural Development is the so-called 2nd Pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy, providing Member States with an envelope of EU funding to manage nationally or regionally under multi-annual, co-funded programmes. In total, 118 programmes are foreseen in all 28 Member States, backed by € 99.6 billion of EU funding over the period 2014-2020 through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), with these measures co-funded by additional national, regional and private finance. The new Rural Development Regulation for the 2014-2020 period addresses six economic, environmental and social priorities, and programmes contain clear targets setting out what is to be achieved. Moreover, in order to coordinate actions better and maximise synergies with the other European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF), a Partnership Agreement has been agreed with each Member State highlighting its broad strategy for EU-funded structural investment.
The 18 RDPs approved today – with level of EU funding from EAFRD* (in million EURO)
EU funding in million EURO
As share of Total EAFRD
* European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
** The Spanish national framework is an important administrative pre-requisite for moving towards approvals of the different Spanish regional programmes plus 1 national RDP