The Place and Role of Rural Development in Development Policy

Goda, Pál – Hamza, Eszter – Mezei, Katalin – Rácz, Katalin

Keywords: Common agricultural Policy, Pillar II, rural policy, rural development, integrated approach to local development Q01, R51, R58

Since the turn of the millennium, rural development has become increasingly important in both the European Union and Hungary. This is underlined by the European Commission’s June 2021 vision for stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas and communities by 2040, which is aimed to achieve through the adoption of an EU-level Rural development Action Plan, the establishment of a Rural Pact mobilising a wide range of EU, national, regional, and local actors, and the use of hitherto unprecedented rural development solutions. The fact that in the 2021-2027 programming period, rural development policy in Hungary is the only development policy area where the national co-financing rate for EU support will increase significantly from 17% to 80% compared to the previous period is a sign of the increasing domestic importance of rural development policy. In this context, we will review the changing role of rural development in time and space, the main changes in the objectives, instruments, and financing background, in order to ensure that the EU and national rural development funds that will become available in the next programming period can further support the development of rural areas. Our analysis showed that in order to establish a rural development policy for the long-term development of rural areas, it is necessary to redefine the concept of rural areas, to revise the EU and national methodology for defining rural areas, to renew data collection and evaluation systems, methodologies and theories that allow monitoring the results and impacts of rural development interventions, in order to promote an integrated development policy more focused on the needs of rural areas and their environment.