The rural development programmes presented for the 2007-2013 financing period by Bulgaria, Finland (Aland Islands), France (Guyana, Corsica) Germany (national framework), Italy (four regions), Latvia, Malta, Portugal (Madeira), Spain (four regions) and England were approved on 20 December by the Rural Development Committee. The European Commission says that it will officially approve it in the coming weeks and programmes for other countries and regions are planned for the months to come.

These programmes aim to maintain infrastructures, create new sources of revenue for rural areas, to promote the growth and to combat unemployment. They fall under the new Rural Development Policy adopted in 2005, focusing on three core policy areas: improving the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry; supporting land management and improving environment; and improving the quality of life and encouraging diversification of...

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