Many rural areas suffer from high levels of unemployment and lack vital infrastructure like high-speed internet and transport connections: the EU’s rural residents are up to twice as likely as city-dwellers to experience poverty or social exclusion.
The promise of a higher quality of life and greater economic opportunity elsewhere is causing a rural exodus, putting strain on Europe’s cities while leaving vast untapped potential in the countryside.
The EU’s rural development policy aims to counter this trend using agriculture as a catalyst for change that benefits all sectors. Funded by the €99bn European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), rural development makes up the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
While the CAP’s first pillar provides annual land-based direct payments to farmers, the second pillar focuses on multiannual projects aimed at boosting sustainability, investment and innovation.
Disclaimer: This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.