Commission approves first rural development programmes in member states

On Friday (12 December), the European Commission approved the first three out of 118 Rural Development Programmes, in Austria, Denmark and Poland.

The programmes aim to improve the competitiveness of the EU's farming sector, while at the same time protecting the countryside and climate, and strengthening the economic and social parts of rural communities until 2020.

The three new programmes account for nearly 22% of €95.6 billion of the total Rural Development spending from the 2014-2020 EU budget and will in addition draw on national, regional and private finance. The programmes are seen as having a direct impact on jobs and growth in the EU, one of the Commission's key priorities.