Easier access to EU funding for rural areas thanks to EU Rural Toolkit

Today, the Commission launched a new interactive guide mapping all funding opportunities available at EU level for rural areas. EU funds and programmes that can foster sustainable growth and well-being in rural areas abound. However, identifying the most appropriate option is not always straightforward for potential beneficiaries. The Rural toolkit gathers funding opportunities from 26 different EU funds, from the Common Agricultural Policy to Cohesion Funds, Horizon Europe and the Recovery and Resilience Facility. In just a few clicks, rural entrepreneurs and local authorities can find out the best funding available to help them develop their project.

This newly launched comprehensive gateway to EU funding and support initiatives available for rural areas in the EU aims to equip applicants with the knowledge and tools needed to address local needs. Beneficiaries may be local authorities, institutions, businesses, associations and individuals.


The new tool offers automatic translations in all EU languages. An interactive funding finder allows users to filter existing schemes based on several criteria:

  • their role or organisation;
  • the activity they want to implement (for example, improving infrastructure, addressing societal challenges, strengthening the local economy, enhancing climate resilience and sustainability);
  • the type of support they are looking for: grants, financial instruments (such as loans and guarantees) or technical assistance likeadvisory services, training, mentoring programmes, support networks,etc.

After narrowing the choice to the most relevant options, key information about current programmes and initiatives is readily available in printable factsheets. These explain how each option is relevant for rural areas, and include practical details, links to calls and relevant contact points.


The Rural toolkit also provides extensive guidance on how to make the most out of available opportunities. Users can get inspired and explore a wide range of examples and case studies, discovering how EU funds and support mechanisms have already been implemented successfully in rural areas across the EU. Many inspiring stories are displayed on a clickable map – for example, the Biovilla cooperative in Portugal has become a leading actor of sustainability and environmental protection, by promoting nature tourism, educational programmes and landscape restoration activities thanks to a combination of private and EU funds. Following a similar approach, the Meridaunia organisation in Italy has promoted rural, environmental and cultural tourism experiences, alongside local agricultural products, thus enhancing the competitiveness and reputation of the Monti Dauni area. In Romania, EU funds co-financed the setting up of a wooden toy manufacture that now exports around the world and created several jobs.

The resources section offers guidance documents, reports and manuals on EU funding opportunities for specific sectors, including broadband, culture, education, energy, environment and tourism. Additional background material can be consulted on the Frequent questions and About pages.


The Rural toolkit is part of the Commission’s long-term vision for stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas in the EU.

EU’s rural areas cover 83% of the EU territory and are home to 30% of the EU population. In 2021, the European Commission presented its Long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas, identifying the challenges and concerns that they are facing as well as the many opportunities available to them. In addition to all the EU funds contributing to supporting prosperous rural areas, the vision relies for its implementation on two pillars that complement each other: the Rural Action Plan and the Rural Pact. The Action Plan puts forward four areas of action for the European Commission to prompt stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous EU rural areas. The Rural Pact is a framework for cooperation among authorities and stakeholders willing to act for rural development at the European, national, regional and local level.


Detailed statistics and analyses on the EU rural areas, covering economic, social and environmental aspects, are available on the Rural Observatory.