The Rural Development Committee approved a first wave of proposals from Member States/regions for using fresh European Union funding for rural development. The Member States/regions in question have proposed amendments to their Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) to make use of extra funding provided by the Health Check of the Common Agricultural Policy and the European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP), agreed in November 2008. The extra funding in question totals € 4.4 billion for the EU as a whole and must be spent through RDPs in the period 2009 to 2013. Member States/regions choose the priorities on which to spend their funding from a list which includes climate change, restructuring of the dairy sector and broadband for rural areas.
“The current economic and environmental situation demands action – in the countryside just as much as in our towns and cities,” said Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.
“We have been taking determined action at European level in many ways. The CAP Health Check and the European Economic Recovery Plan have both put new money on the table to help deal with pressing problems such as restructuring the dairy sector and fighting climate change. It’s up to Member States and regions to use this money wisely.”
Options for spending the money
The CAP Health Check will provide an extra € 3.4 billion for Member States/regions to spend through their RDPs in the period 2010-2013 on any/all of the following priorities:
* climate change;
* water management;
* renewable energy;
* restructuring the dairy sector; and
* innovation linked to any of the above priorities.
The EERP will provide an extra € 1.0 billion to be spent in the same period on broadband in rural areas and any/all of the above priorities.
RDPs for which amendments have now been approved
The first wave of approvals saw 5 Member States going ahead with a Health-Check and EERP spending for the aforementioned priorities for an overall amount of € 244.5 million. These are Austria (€ 97.0 million), Finland (€ 67.0 million), Cyprus (€ 2.0 million), United Kingdom (Northern Ireland region, € 40.1 million) and Italy (Toscana and Sardegna regions, together € 38.3 million). Targeted priorities differ for each Member State/region depending on the current needs and economic situation (see Annex I).
As regards broadband, all RDPs approved (3 regional and 3 national) foresee the development of broadband infrastructure in their rural areas as a major priority area for investment. Overall, the programme modifications approved today provide additional funding possibilities for broadband for these Member States/regions amounting to € 53.2 million.
Distribution of funds across the priority areas: see annex.
Monitoring the impact of the spending
Member States/regions report annually on all spending under RDPs, along with its impact. As of 2010 this will also cover the additional funds injected into existing RDPs as a consequence of the CAP Health Check and the EERP.
Approvals of amendments to other Member States’/regions’ RDPs
Most other RDPs must also be modified in order to make the additional funds from the CAP Health Check and the EERP available to all Member States and regions in 2009.
Therefore, the approvals of these remaining modifications are expected to take place in subsequent meetings of the Rural Development Committee in November and December.
Information on the Rural development programmes from the Member States available at:
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