eu sets out development priority axes

THE EU Commission has set three “priority axes” in its proposals for rural development spending from 2007 to 2013.

 The commission wants at least 15% of a member state”s budget spent on improving competitiveness (axis 1), 25% on the environment (axis 2) and 15% on diversification (axis 3). A further 7% should be spent on so-called LEADER projects, which have a strong local emphasis, with another 3% to be allocated to this area from 2012 depending on a member state”s performance in establishing such schemes.

 Final decisions on future rural development policy are expected in June. But in a round-table discussion at this week”s EU farm council there was more support for the idea of minimum spending. “People are prepared to accept it on the condition that it is not too strict and there is sufficient flexibility,” said council president Fernand Boden.