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21.5.3.  EU rural development programming

    According to the Regulation on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, support from the EAFRD should be based on the existence of administrative framework conditions that are sound [Regulation 1305/2013, last amended by Regulation 2015/791]. Member States should therefore assess the applicability and fulfilment of certain ex ante conditionalities. Each Member State should prepare either a national rural development programme for its entire territory or a set of regional programmes or both a national programme and a set of regional programmes. Each programme should identify a strategy for meeting targets in relation to the Union priorities for rural development and a selection of measures. Programming should comply with Union priorities for rural development, whilst at the same time adapting to national contexts and complementing the other Union policies, in particular the agricultural market policy, the cohesion policy and the common fisheries policy.

    Member States should be able to include in their rural development programmes thematic sub-programmes to address specific needs in areas of particular importance to them. Thematic sub-programmes should concern, among others, young farmers, small farms, mountain areas, the creation of short supply chains, women in rural areas and climate change mitigation and adaptation and biodiversity. Thematic sub-programmes should also be used to provide for the possibility to contribute to the restructuring of agricultural sectors which have a strong impact on the development of rural areas. As a means of increasing the efficient intervention of certain thematic sub-programmes Member States should be allowed to provide for higher support rates for certain operations covered by those thematic sub-programmes.

    Rural development programmes should identify the needs of the area covered and describe a coherent strategy to meet them in the light of the Union priorities for rural development. That strategy should be based on the setting of targets. The links between the needs identified, the targets set and the choice of measures selected to meet them should be established. Rural development programmes should also contain all the information required to assess their conformity with the requirements of Regulation 1305/2013, last amended by Regulation 2015/791.

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