The EU objective is not to undermine the impact of the grant approach, but rather to achieve a sustainable re-balancing. Currently, about 50 billion Euro in Rural Development Grants is planned for the 2014-2020 period, while only 430 million euro is envisaged for Financial Instruments.
That needs to change. In fact, I believe that the Commission’s goal of doubling the use of financial instruments compared to the 2007-2013 period is very modest indeed.
We can do more. We must do more. Because we know that an intelligent and strategic mix of financial instruments can deliver more total funding.
This, too, has enormous potential for the agri-food sector, the EU’s largest employer, in order to boost investment in precision farming and the bio-economy, forestry, and infrastructure in rural areas, including broadband and IT-facilities for smart villages.
We need to tell farmers, rural entrepreneurs, regional authorities, and all the other relevant stakeholders, about these opportunities. They need to get together and develop ideas, design projects, and apply for funding. These vital players need to take the proverbial bull by the horns. The Commission and national governments can not do it for them.
Article by Phil Hogan, sourceEU Financial Instruments for agriculture & rural development,