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Ec Rural Policy

Volume 172: debated on Thursday 17 May 1990

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31.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much the European Community Commission is putting into its rural world policy; and what share his Department will have to bear.

The "Rural World" document published in 1988 was an analysis of rural problems and a series of ideas for overcoming them. It made no specific proposals and no expenditure was budgeted for at that time. The EC Commission has recently announced that 400 mecu (about £280 million) has been earmarked to deal with problems of rural development but has not yet made any proposals on how this money will be spent.Following the reform of the structural funds in 1988, 38 becu (£27 billion) was allocated over the period 1989 to 1993 for expenditure in objective 1 areas (which are the least developed areas in the Community and include substantial rural areas). In addition, 2·6 becu (£1·8 billion) has been allocated to objective 5(b) areas (which are other rural areas in need of development). My Department does not contribute to the funding of investments under these programmes.