A further set of rural development programmes for the period 2007-2013 agreed

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Today the Rural Development Committee (consisting of representatives of the 27 Member States) gave a positive opinion to the Rural Development programmes of Belgium (Wallonia), Estonia, France (Martinique, Réunion), Germany (3 Länder), Greece, Italy (4 regions), Portugal (Mainland and Azores) Slovakia and Spain (Navarra) for the financial period 2007-2013. These programmes are defined to guarantee infrastructure, create new income opportunities for rural regions, promote growth and fight unemployment. The Commission still has to formally adopt the programmes in the next weeks. The approval of the programmes for other countries and regions will follow in the next months.

Background:

As part of the fundamental reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which started in 2003, rural development policy has also been reviewed. The Commission conducted a thorough analysis of rural development (RD) policy, including an Extended Impact Assessment of future RD policy and made a proposal in July 2004. In September 2005, the Council adopted a reformed rural development policy for the period 2007-2013[2], which is characterized by 'continuity and change'.

It continues to provide a menu of measures from which the Member States can choose and for which they receive Community financial support in the context of integrated RD programmes. It changes the way these programmes are developed by fostering the strategic content and the sustainable development of rural areas. For that purpose the future RD policy focuses on the three commonly agreed core policy areas (axes):

  • Improving the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry
  • Supporting land management and improving environment and
  • Improving the quality of life and encouraging diversification of economic activities.

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