Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Policy Brief, Issue 1 - March 2008

Funded under: FP6


Most of the problems European societies are currently facing, such as ageing populations, high unemployment rates, social disparities and the lack of adaptive potential to the global market, are often more pronounced in rural areas than in other regions. However, aside from these general problems, rural areas face their own particular set of problems, which have to be addressed by specific strategies and approaches. All of these issues have a major impact on agricultural markets and also on local economies in rural areas. It is in these areas where innovation is most needed. The renewed Lisbon strategy focuses on growth and jobs within Europe. Innovation has been identified as a means to increase the competitiveness of Europe and decrease unemployment.

But what does innovation entail? Innovation can be defined as the introduction of a new good or new quality of good, the introduction of a new method of production, the opening of a new market, the acquisition of a new source of raw material, or an alteration of an existing industry structure.

On the EU-level, rural development, including innovation and job creation, are addressed through a number of policies, initiatives and funding instruments, for example:
- Rural development policy, a component of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), is particularly aimed at agriculture and forestry as well as the broader needs of rural areas.
- The Lisbon and Gothenburg agendas address issues like knowledge-based societies, jobs, economic growth and sustainable development.
- The Environmental Technologies Action Plan addresses the promotion of new environmentally friendly technologies and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme provides funding to stimulate and promote innovation. These include particular funding mechanisms to achieve the goals of the Lisbon agenda without compromising the Gothenburg objective of protecting the environment.

The start of a new funding period and the reviews of the Rural Devel

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