Fabian Demicoli

Support for Rural Development


 COM (2009) 38-1  Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

EUR 1.5 billion should be made available to all Member States via the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) with a view to developing broadband internet in rural areas and to strengthen the new challenges as defined in the context of the assessment of the 2003 midterm reform of the Common Agricultural Policy – the "Health Check" – which was completed in November 2008. One third of this amount (EUR 0.5 billion) should be spent on new challenges related operations and two thirds (EUR 1 billion) on developing broadband internet infrastructure in rural areas.

The motivation for this allocation of additional funds to the two priority areas of the EU's rural development policy is the following:

Rural communities can be amongst the most vulnerable to economic downturn.

In difficult times, there is a greater risk of exclusion and when the economy starts to return to growth, the benefits can flow more slowly.

The European Economic Recovery Plan set out a goal of developing broadband networks to achieve a full 100% high-speed internet coverage by 2010. It also underlined the need to upgrade the performance of many existing networks, alongside efforts to promote competitive investments in fibre networks and free up spectrum for wireless broadband.

By 31 December 2009, Member States shall provide in their rural development programmes, in accordance with their specific needs, for types of operations having the following priorities as described in the Community strategic guidelines and specified further in the national strategy plans amongst which is the broadband internet infrastructure in rural affairs.

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