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21.5.1.  The financing of rural development in the EU

    Rural development and accompanying measures during the period 2000-06 were financed by the EAGGF Guarantee Section or Guidance Section, depending on their regional context [see section 12.3.2.]. Thus, Community support for early retirement, less-favoured areas and areas with environmental restrictions, agri-environmental measures and afforestation were financed by the EAGGF Guarantee Section throughout the European Union. Union support for other rural development measures was financed by the EAGGF Guidance Section in areas covered by Objective 1 (integrated into the programmes) and Guarantee Section in areas outside Objective 1 [see sections 12.1.1 and 12.3.1].

    In the context of the sixth reform of the CAP (2014-2020), a new Regulation governs support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Regulation 1305/2013 [last amended by Regulation 2015/791] lays down general rules governing Union support for rural development, financed by the EAFRD and established by Regulation 1306/2013 [last amended by Regulations 907/2014 and 908/2014]. It complements the provisions of Part Two of Regulation 1303/2013 [last amended by Regulation 2015/1839 and Decision 2014/190] laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund [see section 12.3].

    Regulation 1305/2013 sets out the objectives to which rural development policy is to contribute and the relevant Union priorities for rural development. It outlines the strategic context for rural development policy and defines the measures to be adopted in order to implement rural development policy. In addition, it lays down rules on programming, networking, management, monitoring and evaluation on the basis of responsibilities shared between the Member States and the Commission and rules to ensure coordination of the EAFRD with other Union instruments.

    For its part, the Regulation 1306/2013 [last amended by Regulations 907/2014 and 908/2014] on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy lays down the rules on: (a) the financing of expenditure under the CAP, including expenditure on rural development, expenditure by the paying agencies and the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) [see section 21.4.2]; (b) the farm advisory system, which is a set of advice services which Member States must set up so as to help farmers understand, in particular, their cross-compliance and greening obligations; (c) the management and control systems to be put in place by the Member States; (d) the cross-compliance, a system created by the 2003 CAP reform which makes aid and support to farmers subject to compliance with requirements of public interest, notably standards related to environment, animal welfare and the use of plant protection products; (e) clearance of accounts, including withdrawals of unduly paid aid and penalties imposed on those beneficiaries of the support schemes who do not comply with eligibility conditions or other obligations.

    The programming of rural development should comply with European and national priorities and complement the other common policies, in particular the agricultural market policy, cohesion policy and common fisheries policy. In accordance with their respective responsibilities, the Commission and the Member States must ensure the coordination between the assistance from the different Funds, i.e. the ERDF, the ESF, the Cohesion Fund [see section 12.3], the European Fisheries Fund [see section 22.4], and the interventions of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and of other EU financial instruments.

    EAFRD assistance is implemented through close consultations (partnership) between the Commission and the Member State and with the authorities and bodies designated by the Member State under national rules and practices. Each Member State must submit a national strategy plan indicating the priorities of the action of the EAFRD and of the Member State concerned taking into account the European strategic guidelines, their specific objectives, the contribution from the EAFRD and the other financial resources.

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