Support for Rural Development

This regulation:

  • sets out how the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) aims to develop the agricultural sector over the 2014-2020 period to be more geographically and environmentally balanced and climate-friendly resilient, competitive and innovative;
    lays down the rules governing the EU’s support for rural development, funded by the EAFRD;
    explains the EAFRD’s objectives and how it works.

The EAFRD aims to:

  • improve competitiveness in agriculture;
  • ensure that natural resources are managed sustainably and that measures to tackle climate change are implemented effectively;
  • ensure that rural areas across the EU receive support for development, which includes creating new jobs and protecting existing ones.

The EU supports action to meet 6 priority objectives:

  • increased knowledge transfer and innovation;
  • a more competitive agricultural sector and sustainably managed forests;
  • better food chain organisation, including processing, marketing and risk management;
  • restored, preserved and improved ecosystems;
  • improved resource efficiency and a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy; and
  • increased social inclusion, reduced poverty and better economic development in rural areas.

EU countries and regions may also focus on issues of particular importance in their area such as

  • young farmers
  • small farms
  • mountain areas
  • women in rural areas
  • climate change mitigation/adaptation and biodiversity
  • short supply chains (i.e. the sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of farm products).


The EAFRD’s budget was set at €99.3 billion in 2015. At least 30 % of this must be used for measures to protect the environment and combat climate change and 5 % is reserved for developing local strategies.

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/791 revises the budget breakdown of EU support for rural development programmes (Annex I of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013).

The regulation requires a rural development policy to be consistent with other policies in this area. EU-level rules and agreements between EU countries are in place to ensure that EU funding is used effectively, minimising overlaps and inconsistencies.

The EAFRD is one of two funds providing money to implement the EU’s common agricultural policy. It supports the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy by encouraging rural development throughout the EU, working alongside other initiatives in this area to ensure effective use of EU money.

This article is derived from European Union public sector information. EU public information is reproduced pursuant to Commission Decision of 12 December 2011 on the reuse of Commission documents (2011/833/EU) (the EU Decision).

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