Agriculture and rural areas in South Eastern Europe play significant role in the overall development of national economies. Development of rural areas in accordance with the EU-guidelines and policies is, therefore, a major challenge for EU member countries, candidate countries as well as for potential candidate countries. Agriculture and rural development strategies, legislation and programming documents have been developed in many countries in the region in the recent years, while in some countries it is still an on-going process. The implementation of respective policy measures and instruments has started or is foreseen to start.
To foster these processes, the Agricultural Policy Forum has been institutionalized as a platform for dialogue and mutual learning.
Starting with the first Agricultural Policy Forum in November 2001, a series of events have been organized apart from the two events in Leipzig and one in Dresden, Germany, and the meetings held in Romania, Albania, Macedonia/Serbia, Bulgaria and Montenegro. The theme of all events was the agricultural and rural transition process in SEE countries. One of the main achievements was the formation of the Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group (SWG) in SEE.
The objectives of the Agricultural Policy Forum 2009 were to present and discuss support system/ schemes in SEE and their commentaries with the EU CAP. The main objective was to provide a discussion forum for the achievements and the future needs for adjusting support schemes for SEE countries with the EU CAP.
The specific Forum objectives were:
•To emphasize the importance of the approximation and implementation of the agricultural and rural development policy of SEE Countries (candidate and potential candidate countries) in accordance with the current and future EU CAP changes and trends;
•To elaborate existing and to collect recommendations for adjustment of the support schemes of SEE countries with the EU CAP;
•To discuss the influence of the world economic crisis on investments in agriculture and food production in SEE countries and to discuss possible recommendations for overcoming such problems;