The EU plans to spend on rural development policy nearly 100 billion euro for the period 2014-2020 through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). An objective of the EU strategic framework for 2014-2020 was to focus more on results. However, efforts to achieve this faced the perennial problem of planning for a new programming period starting before relevant data are available as regards spending and results from the previous period.
We found that the approved RDPs are long and complex documents with shortcomings that limit the potential to enhance the focus on performance and results. Significant administrative effort on the part of national authorities was needed to meet the extensive content requirements. We also found that despite Commission’s efforts, RDPs’ implementation started late and the planned spending began more slowly than in the previous period.
We make a number of recommendations to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Commission and to the Member States in order to improve the next programming process.