Project details

Defining EU priorities: Review of rural development instruments (AGRI-2006-G4-10)

The purpose of this study is to provide a thorough assessment and evaluation of EU rural development instruments, on the basis of a range of quantitative and qualitative approaches, and with respect to the explicit objectives and priorities defined in the new Rural Development Regulation (EAFRD) and EU Strategic Guidelines. As identified in the specification, the study findings will be used by the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development in order to establish a basis for internal discussion and public debate about the future of rural development policy in Europe.

This study will review the existing rationale for measures as well as examine the precise instruments (both their basic design, and their modes of delivery in different Member States and within different kinds of programmes) and their apparent and predicted impacts. It will thereby attempt to assess their effectiveness and efficiency in delivering the new objectives, EU priorities and key actions identified in the EU Strategic Guidelines. This analysis and evaluation will enable the identification of proposals and recommendations for changes to the suite of measures and/or their deployment and delivery, to enhance their ability to promote rural development objectives, priorities and actions more effectively. The findings of the study should feed directly into the planned review of the broader framework of the CAP, which is due to begin in 2008.

The assessment will be built upon a robust quantitative analysis and manipulation of the following basic data:

  • Analysis of NUTS III level data on the implementation of financial EU rural development measures in the EU-15, for the period 2000-2006;
  • Analysis of programme and measure level data on the implementation of financial EU rural development measures in the EU-15 for the period 2000-2006, in the EU-10 for 2004- 2006 and under SAPARD, 2000-4;
  • Analysis of forecast expenditure at programme and measure level for the period 2007-2013, for the EU-25.

These data are then used to develop an initial evaluation of the use of measures within programmes by

  • designing and using quantitative indicators of rural development ‘need’, with reference to the CMEF3 indicators in particular;
  • reviewing the findings of monitoring data (contained in DG AGRI database CAP-IDIM) and synthesis evaluations for the period 2000-2006; and
  • developing a financial cost-based ‘benchmarking’ approach to examine the efficiency of conversion of funds into outcomes.

In a final set of tasks, qualitative approaches including literature review and expert opinion are added to the quantitative work to produce

  • an assessment of the targeting and effectiveness of existing rural development instruments;
  • an evaluation of the extent to which existing policy instruments correspond to policy objectives;
  • recommendations as to how new or improved policy instruments and delivery mechanisms could improve the effectiveness of the policy.

Coordination: Countryside and Community Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire (UK)

Project no.: 



Evaluation | Agricultural policy |


European Commission, Directorate-General for Agriculture


2007 - 2008

Contact person/s at IfLS: 

Simone Sterly