Decrease text Increase text

Improving Implementation

Delivery Mechanisms

The European Union rural development policy is implemented jointly by the Commission and the Member States.The Commission is responsible for approving the Rural Development Programmes (RDPs), as well as for ensuring sound financial management of the Community funds.The Member States define the national legal and administrative procedures in order to ensure the correct use of the EU budget they dispose. The day-to-day implementation of the policy is the responsibility of the national authorities. The implementation of RDPs can be further delegated to regional or sub-regional levels. The management and the delivery of rural development policy therefore occur at different levels and exhibit a high degree of variability between countries. Delivery mechanisms may be considered as the set of processes and procedures which ensure that policy objectives become concrete actions on-the-ground.

Efficient and effective delivery (Thematic Working Group 4)

The Thematic Working Group 4 group was established to contribute to ensuring that EU rural development policy has the most efficient and effective delivery system possible. The mandate of the group is to review the experience of programmes implementation in the EU and identify those aspects which are operating well, those which may require improvement and what concrete improvements might be made.

The group examined the variety of delivery mechanisms put in place for the different stages of the programming cycle and through all the delivery chain (EU, National, Regional, sub-regional, beneficiary level):

  • the strategic approach and targeting;
  • the programming process and financial aspects;
  • implementation procedures and organisational set up (including specific aspects as: LEADER, monitoring and evaluation, controls);
  • the functioning of the partnership principle;
  • ensuring complementarity and coordination with other EU policies.

For a better policy delivery

The findings of the working group have been synthetised in a final report which includes a summary of the case studies by topic, a number of positive delivery practices put in place across the EU and, conclusions which identify six possible areas for improvements in the delivery of the EU rural development policy, namely:

  • Sharpening the focus on policy goals and strengthening coherence through the delivery chain.
  • Offering fewer, simpler measures and more flexibility in their use.
  • Devising and implementing specific conditions for LEADER.
  • Improving implementation rules (including applications and controls)
  • Further enhancing monitoring and evaluation as a support tool for making and implementing policy.
  • Improving coordination and exchange of information.

The results and the conclusions of the TWG were discussed at the ENRD seminar “Improving the delivery of the EU rural development programmes” which took place in Brussels on the 9 December 2011.


  • Final report [PDF ]
  • Final report - Summary and conclusions [PDF ],

Dissemination of results

  • Examples of rural development programme delivery from the TWG4 case studies:
    1. The Global Farming Contract model in Catalonia, Spain [PDF ]
    2. Consultation process for the preparation of the national strategic plan and rural development programme in Austria [PDF ]
    3. The integrated supply-chain projects in Emilia-Romagna region, Italy [PDF ]
    4. Strategic approach and programme design in Denmark [PDF ]
    5. Definition and implementation of a communication strategy in France [PDF ]
    6. Improving application procedures in Poland [PDF ]


  • TWG4 leaflet [PDF ]
  • A short guide to the European Commission’s proposals for EU rural development after 2013 [PDF ]
  • Power Point presentation on Delivery mechanisms of the EU rural development policy [PPT ]*, [PDF ]
  • (*) Please note that the file is protected against further editing. To use it, just open it (double click) and click on the “Read only” button.

Click here for more information [PDF ]

Related Information

DG AGRI study on administrative burden reduction associated with the implementation of certain Rural Development measures

Collective approaches to agri-environment contracts

On 15 April 2011 a special TWG4 meeting took place in Brussels to discuss about existing collective approaches to agri-environment contracts. The minutes of the meeting [PDF ] provide a summary of the discussions carried out with the invited experts.