Legal basis for rural development in the 2014-2020 period

On 17 December 2013, the European Parliament and the European Council in Brussels adopted key documents for the 2014-2020 period.

Legal framework at EU level

To implement the EU's rural development policy for the 2014 - 2020 period, a raft of regulations (basic, implementing and delegated regulations) have been adopted to establish the pertinent legal framework. It must be noted, in this respect, that the rural development policy ought to be regarded not only as a tool to monitor and facilitate the direct payment and market support measures under CAP 2014-2020. Rather, the rural development policy also must take into account the political objectives set forth in the Europe 2020 strategy for an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth.

In addition to the basic regulations (basic acts) adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the European Commission has the authority to adopt implementing acts and delegated acts setting out specific conditions for the implementation of the basic act:

1. The Rural Development Regulation

2. The horizontal regulation

3. The common regulation

1. The Rural Development Regulation

The following regulation lays down the basis conditions for rural development:
 

REGULATION (EU) No 1305/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 17 December 2013 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005.

 

This regulation sets forth the main provisions for the creation, monitoring, evaluation and content of the rural development programme while providing a description of the rural development measures and setting out financial, administrative and control provisions.
 

The following regulations lay down the rules for the application of this basic regulation:
 

COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) No 807/2014 of 11 March 2014 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and introducing transitional provisions
 

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) No 808/2014 of 17 July 2014 laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
 

2. The horizontal regulation:

Through a scheme based on the principle of shared management between the Member States and the European Union, rural developed is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which was established on the basis of the following regulation referenced below:
 

REGULATION (EU) No 1306/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 17 December 2013 on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 352/78, (EC) No 165/94, (EC) No 2799/98, (EC) No 814/2000, (EC) No 1290/2005 and (EC) No 485/2008


This "horizontal regulation", as it is termed, sets out rules for the funding of expenditures under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), i.e. not only the expenditures for rural development (EAFRD) but also those of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EGFL). In addition, it includes rules for the Farm Advisory System, the management and control systems, which need to be put into place, cross-compliance and the clearance of accounts.

The following regulations lay down the rules for the application of the "horizontal regulation":
 

COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) No 640/2014 of 11 March 2014 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the integrated administration and control system and conditions for refusal or withdrawal of payments and administrative penalties applicable to direct payments, rural development support and cross compliance

COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) No 907/2014 of 11 March 2014 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to paying agencies and other bodies, financial management, clearance of accounts, securities and use of euro

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) No 809/2014 of 17 July 2014 laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the integrated administration and control system, rural development measures and cross compliance

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) No 908/2014 of 6 August 2014 laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to paying agencies and other bodies, financial management, clearance of accounts, rules on checks, securities and transparency
 

3. The common regulation

The common basic provisions for ELER, the European Regional Development Fund (EFRE), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), as set forth in the "Europe 2020 Strategy" for an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth, are established by the following regulation:


REGULATION (EU) No 1303/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006
 

In addition to the general provisions applicable to all structural instruments, including ELER, this Regulation also sets forth the provisions needed to warrant efficiency of the Funds and coordination between them and with other EU instruments.

Numerous delegated and implementing regulations, which are not listed here to avoid confusion, provide further details on the provisions of the common regulation. For an overview of all the legal standards, please consult the Commission website.

Information on the complete acquis communautaire can be queried at EUR-Lex.

Legal framework at NATIONAL level
 

The Agriculture Act 1992 (LwG) provides the legal basis for agricultural measures in Austria. The law's long title gives the direction in which the agricultural policy is meant to take:
 

Federal Act providing the legal basis for agricultural measures for the adoption of measures to secure nutrition and to maintain an area-wide, well-functioning, farm-based system of agriculture (Landwirtschaftsgesetz 1992 - LWG), Federal Law Gazette No 375/1992.

 

The Agriculture Act 1992 defines the objectives of the federal government's agricultural policy in consideration of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (sec. 1). They include

  • maintaining an economically sound and well-functioning farm-based system of agriculture and forestry;
  • gearing agricultural production towards market needs;
  • improving productivity and value added in agriculture; and
  • sustaining natural resources for the long term;
  • the Agriculture Act as legal basis for subsidies;
  • the Agriculture Act 1992 plays a key role when it comes to the payment of agricultural subsidies and its joint funding by the Federal Government and the Federal Provinces (sections 2 through 5).

For the purpose of verifying target achievement and traceability of the measures taken, the Agriculture Act specifies the reporting obligations incumbent on the Federal Minister in great detail. In this regard, the "Green Report" with the annual review of economic performance in agriculture - by holding size, holding type and production area - is of crucial importance (sec. 9). This report must be submitted to the Federal Government once a year by 15 September.

The "Paragraph 7-Kommission", as it is known, is a commission comprising employer and employee representatives that makes recommendations to the Federal Minister and assists in drawing up the Green Report. The commission's name refers to section 7 of the Agriculture Act 1992, which governs the composition of the commission.
 

published at 12.07.2018, Kommunikation und Service (Abteilung Präs. 5)