This paper attempts to examine if the Rural Development Regulation (RDR), adopted by the Commission in 1999 and hailed as the CAP’s second pillar, introduces a new approach in rural development policy making, which implies the merging of rural development with regional policy. For this purpose, the application of regulations’ in Greece – an Objective 1 region, with a large and structurally weak farm sector – is assessed. The adopted methodology focuses on the analysis of all instruments through which the regulation is applied, the basic one being the 2000-06 Community Support Framework (CSF), whose targets, actions and sources of financing are compared to programmes of previous periods. The efficiency of the regulation implementation is assessed on the basis of an ex-ante analysis of the current CSF and of a number of structural constraints (e.g. financial, administrative and legal) that have traditionally characterized the implementation of such programmes in Greece. Finally a brief assessment of the role that the major political agents in the agricultural policy-making can play in the promotion of the new rural policy approach is attempted. The conclusions point to the increased chances for efficient implementation of the Regulation through the introduction of the new philosophy in the Greek rural policy-making. The possible negative effects on this development due to the pressure exerted by the new members on the EU budget will probably be offset by the recent reforms proposed by the Commission for a simpler and more coherent rural development programming and management.
Key words: EU rural development model, Rural Development Regulation, Multifunctionality in agriculture, Endogenous development approach, Greek Community Framework, Greek agricultural sector.
JEL Classification System: Q18 – Agricultural Policy, R11 – Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, and Changes, R12 – Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity.