Rural development

European Network for Rural Development

The European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) acts as a hub of information on how rural development policy, programmes, projects and other initiatives work in practice and how they can be improved to make more. It aims to engage and reach anyone interested and committed to rural development in Europe.

The ENRD supports the effective implementation of EU countries’ rural development programs by generating and sharing knowledge, as well as facilitating information exchange and cooperation across rural Europe. The ENRD provides a wealth of information on the implementation of SPRs in the EU, including:

These activities are facilitated by two support units: the ENRD Contact Point and the European Evaluation Helpdesk for Rural Development.


LEADER is a ‘bottom-up’ approach, in which farmers, rural businesses, local organisations, public authorities and individuals from different sectors come together to form Local Action Groups (LAGs). The LAGs prepare their own local development strategies and manage their own respective budgets.

The LEADER approach strengthens links within local communities, encourages innovation in all sectors and facilitates knowledge sharing between LAGs at national and European level.

Building on its success for more than 30 years, the LEADER approach has been adopted by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) in community-led local development (CLLD). Today LEADER/CLLD groups manage tens of thousands of projects with economic, cultural, social and environmental benefits in rural Europe.

The ENRD provides detailed information on the LEADER approach, including resources, toolkits and a database of LAGs.

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European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture

The European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-Agri) also supports rural development objectives by fostering innovation in agriculture and rural communities.

The EIP-Agri was created to bridge the gap between innovative solutions created by researchers and the adoption of new technologies by those who live and work in rural areas. By creating partnerships between those who will eventually use new technologies and those who create them, the EIP-Agri aims to accelerate the adoption of change.

The future of rural development

Under the new CAP, rural development actions will be included as part of the national CAP strategic plans from 2023.

In this framework, the Commission aims to make rural development actions more responsive to current and future challenges such as climate change and generational renewal, while continuing to support European farmers in a sustainable and competitive agricultural sector. Rural development actions will also make a strong contribution to the main priorities and strategies of the Commission, such as the European Green Deal and the long-term vision for rural areas.

Legal bases

Regulation (EU) 1303/2013 – sets out the common rules applicable to the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds)

Regulation (EU) 1305/2013 on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

Regulation (EU) 1306/2013 on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy

Regulation (EU) 1310/2013 on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 807/2014 on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and introducing transitional provisions

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 640/2014 on the administration, withdrawal of support or penalty conditions applicable to direct payments, rural development support and cross-compliance

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 809/2014 describing how Regulation (EU) 1306/2013, the management and control system, rural development measures and cross-compliance are to be applied

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