Non-urban areas were defined as the equivalent of rural areas which cover more than 90% of the EU territory and host nearly 30% of the EU population. These areas have traditionally been a key focus of the EU’s territorial policies. They are targeted through the EU’s Rural Development Policy (RDP) and to a larger extent through Cohesion Policy (CP).
The study analysed the challenges of these areas and discussed the extent and thematic orientation of rural Cohesion Policy funding. It identified key areas for EU action with regards to using Cohesion Policy for rural development, such as addressing the structural and socio-economic challenges in rural areas; improving the focus on non-urban areas’ needs; developing better opportunities for complementarity between the Common Agricultural Policy and the Cohesion Policy; and enhancing support in healthcare needs in rural areas.