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How Rural Development Programmes can contribute to stronger and more balance rural development?

Euromontana participated to a public hearing on “Rural Development Programmes: Process and Aspirations” organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 13th April 2015. This first public hearing will be followed by two others (in Wales and Finland) before the preparation of an initiative opinion that is expected to be adopted in September 2015.

With this report, the EESC has questioned representatives of the civil society on the contribution of the Rural Development Programmes (RDP) to stronger and more balance rural development. In particular, it will focus on the consultation process (were stakeholders consulted in the elaboration of the RDP? In an efficient way?), on how to bring real benefit to citizens (focusing especially on entrepreneurship and the creation of jobs), on social justice and on sustainable development and environmental biodiversity.

Martin Scheele, from DG AGRI, tried to give a general overview of the measures adopted in the different RDP, knowing that so far only 18 programmes out of 118 have been officially approved. It seems that 43% of the funding will be spent on measures for ecosystems in agriculture and forestry, 20% for farm viability and competitiveness, 15% for promotion of social inclusion, poverty reduction and local development, 10% for food chain, animal welfare and risk management and finally 9% for resources efficiency, low carbon and climate resilience.

Representatives from Germany, Spain and Latvia explained how the consultation process was conducted in their respective countries and the multifunction role of agriculture in these RDP. Their presentations will soon be available here.

In the opening debate, Euromontana took the opportunity to ask about the sub-thematic programmes. Indeed, some very interesting measures have been created at EU level, such as the possibility to have sub-thematic programmes for mountain areas. Unfortunately, so far, it seems that the different regions and Member States have not seized this opportunity to put more focus on mountain farming. Thus, Euromontana reminded the EESC that the novelties developed at EU level should also be brought back to the ground level and explained to the different stakeholders, not only to the Managing Authorities, otherwise, there is a risk that they won’t be applied.

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20 April 2015

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