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The evolution and impact of EU regional and rural policy

Directions in Investment series - N. 1 - 2009

Along with income disparities, intersectoral and territorial development has been a central concern for the European Community since its foundation. Although the European Union (EU) is based mainly on market integration and the harmonization of standards and regulations, its Member States have agreed to pool resources to finance development of the agriculture sector and to help combat interregional disparities. Over the decades, policies for regional and rural development have been broadened and reformed to improve their performance, adapt to new challenges, and keep pace with the growing heterogeneity of the Union. This working paper discusses the development of rural and regional policies in the EU, particularly regarding how they have integrated evolving concepts related to economic theories of growth and endogenous development. The paper elaborates on the increasing importance placed on strategic planning and programming, and on the growing influence of a territorial approach to development.
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