Europe and Central Asia

Event - The Hidden Truth - Resources

New Rural Development Plans and the Environment: The Hidden Truth
European Economic & Social Committee, Brussels

BirdLife Europe and the European Environmental Bureau present The Hidden Truth, an event on Rural Development and its implications for the environment, which was held at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels on 8th February 2016. Amongst the speakers were EU Director General for the Environment, Daniel Calleja Crespoand other representatives of DG Agriculture, DG Environment and DG Climate as well as a whole range of experts, farmers, NGOs and Member States representatives.

Background to the event:
2016 will be the first year the new Rural Development (RD) programmes are rolled out on the ground, as in many Member States the adoption process is ongoing until the end of 2015. Rural Development is the second Pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and it represents a more targeted and more effective part of the policy than Pillar 1 (Direct Payments), which still only represents about 30% of the overall CAP budget.

The CAP reform, and in particular measures to make it greener, were meant to increase the delivery potential of RD and ensure better value for money; most of the environmental delivery potential on farmland comes from RD plans being implemented in the right way. Unfortunately, these so-called ‘greening’ measures were significantly watered down throughout the political co-decision process and it is unlikely they will contribute to enhancing the potential of Rural Development measures.

At this stage it is therefore important to take stock of the planning process and assess whether any improvements have been made, at least on paper.

2016 also marks the second half of the period running up to our 2020 biodiversity commitments and a crucial year in terms of other environmental policy implementation (water, air, etc.). Making the link between the RDPs and these other policies is also of paramount importance, as the CAP as a whole is meant to integrate environmental policies.

The Conference report is available to view here

The agenda for the event is available to view here 

Factsheets displaying analysis discussed and presentations made at the event are available below.





 - Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
 - Rhône-Alpes


 - Emilia-Romagna
 - Friuli-Venezia Giulia
 - Lombardy
 - Piedmont
 - Trento
 - Veneto





 - Castilla y León

 United Kingdom
 - England



Angelo Innamorati

Cecile Fevre

Claire McCamphill

Crister Agren

Neil Darwent

Olga Kikou

Pilar Gumma

Roald Wolters

Trees Robijns

For questions related to the content of this event, please contact Trees Robijns (



Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.