Rural development and Common Agricultural Policy

Finland is one of the most rural countries in the European Union. Rural areas account for 95% of Finland’s land area. Finland’s rural areas have around 1.6 million permanent residents and around 2.1 million recreational residents.

Finland receives funding for developing its rural areas from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland 2014–2020 aims to boost growth and development and create prosperity and wellbeing across Finland. The programme offers funding for a total of EUR 8 billion to maintain the state of the environment, to promote business and jobs creation in rural areas and to create recreational opportunities and boost activity in rural areas. Funding is granted to farms and other rural enterprises, village communities and civil society organisations.

Rural development aims to vitalise rural areas by boosting and renewing business operations, improving services and increasing social inclusion. Competence and learning new skills are keys to the success of rural areas and rural operators.

The so-called LEADER approach is a tool for boosting activity and operations among local residents, business and communities.

Reliable, high-speed broadband access is a foundation for successful businesses. A functioning telecommunication infrastructure promotes digitalisation.

Rural investment translates into cleaner waters, healthy and happy animals, and high-quality food products. Attractive rural tourism destinations, international businesses and recreational opportunities for children and young people are among the achievements of the Rural Development Programme. The aim is to accelerate the use of new technologies and support reforms that make Finland’s rural areas accessible across the globe.

Priorities during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU

  • To advance the negotiations as far as possible, taking into account the uncertainties linked, amongst others, to the MFF timetable, Brexit and the European Parliament’s future procedure
  • At least to produce an updated set of draft legal texts by the end of the Presidency. If the developments so allow, especially in the MFF negotiations, to reach a Council General Approach

Policy objectives: goals and strategic level

The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will highlight themes that are crucial for today’s society: climate change mitigation and adaptation, the wellbeing of people and the environment, functioning services, and successful businesses.

Background: European Commission proposal, process

Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland

Common Agricultural Policy reform (in Finnish and Swedish)