Rural areas with their villages and traditional farming landscape are a striking feature of our homeland. This is where the majority of our small and medium-sized enterprises from trade, industry and services are located. This is also where our regionally diverse food is produced. The decentralised structure is one of Germany’s particular strengths. Our countryside also offers space for nature and leisure activities.
The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture promotes rural development, in order for rural regions – with their different economic and demographic challenges – to remain vibrant and attractive. To this end, we want to create a basis for competitive rural areas with interesting jobs and the necessary utilities and connections. We also want to use and strengthen the diverse voluntary commitment of the people living in these regions.
Rural development is one of the Federal Government’s priority tasks. The measures receive political backing from a task force made up of the Parliamentary State Secretaries from the Ministries involved, which is chaired by the BMEL. In the “Rural Areas” interministerial task force (IMAG), the Federal Ministries coordinate their activities for rural regions.
Federal Minister Klöckner is co-chair of the “Equal Living Conditions” Commission, where she calls for easily accessible utilities, from shops to country doctors’ offices, vibrant village centres and demand-driven mobility services, and, not least, a swift roll-out of universal broadband and mobile communications networks. The Commission’s results and the recommendations of the chairs were presented in the summer of 2019.
In order to make living and working in the countryside attractive, the BMEL, together with the federal states and the European Union, is promoting environmental and other services rendered by agriculture and a large number of village renewal projects, networking initiatives and competitions.
The Federal Government/Länder Joint Tasks are effective assistance instruments by the Federal Government to support the Länder financially in performing their duties. With the support from the Joint Task for the Improvement of Agricultural Structures and Coastal Protection (GAK), the agricultural structure, the competitiveness of agriculture and the rural areas has been well advanced through integrated rural development. The BMEL, together with the Länder, continuously develops the GAK further.
In the 19th legislative period, the following adaptations to current challenges in the area of integrated rural development were decided:
- the introduction of a regional budget amounting to up to 200,000 euro. In this way, active and autonomous rural development in the municipalities can be supported more strongly through several small projects of up to 20,000 euro each.
- the enhanced promotion of active citizenship
- the support of multi-functional buildings and spaces for common use, such as “co-working spaces”
- the improvement of broadband support
In addition to this, the “Rural development support” special framework plan was agreed on. In 2019, under the special framework plan, additional federal funds amounting to 150 million euro for measures within the area of integrated rural development were earmarked for the Länder; 200 million euro have been set aside to this end from 2020.