The EU’s rural development policy helps the rural areas of the EU to meet the wide range of challenges and opportunities that face them in the 21st century – economic, environmental and social. Known as the “second pillar” of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it has been improved for the period 2014-2020 through the process of wider CAP reform, via a number of legislative acts.
In line with Europe 2020 and the overall CAP objectives three long-term strategic objectives for EU rural development policy in the 2014-2020 period can be identified:
fostering the competitiveness of agriculture;
ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources, and climate action; and
achieving a balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities including the creation and maintenance of employment.