IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The redefinition of Europe's Less Favoured Areas


  • Dax, Thomas


The support scheme for farming in less-favoured areas, established by the European Union in 1975, marked a major change in the nature of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by introducing for the first time regional categories. It also represented the initiation of direct annual payments to farmers, an approach which was to expand greatly in the 1990s and thereafter. Over a long period it had remained the only significant structural measure of agricultural policy with a territorial dimension. Only recent policy reforms changed this situation: commodity market support was gradually decreased and, on the other hand, the environmental implications of policy measures were increasingly emphasised. Discussions on the interrelations of the Less-Favoured Areas (LFA) scheme with Agri-Environmental Measures (AEM) and other elements of the Rural Development Programmes (RDP) have been intensified as the political and financial weight of the programmes gained in importance. This paper focuses on the objectives and relevance of the LFA support scheme, its application in the EU and the main elements of the debate for the redefinition of LFA support. From the very beginning, LFA policy was conceived as a structural policy aimed at the prevention of land abandonment, to preserve the farming population in these areas and maintain cultural landscapes. In this regard, the instrument was one of the first measures to address environmentally beneficial farming systems, and thus reveals high coincidence with High Nature Value (HNV) farming systems. The three types of LFA, mountain areas, other LFAs and areas affected by specific handicaps take account of the range of geographical differences in the production difficulties of EU agriculture. The increased focus on environmental aims resulted in a discussion of the ‘intermediate’ areas, the category of other LFAs. It has been proposed that the socio-economic criterion in determining these areas should be dropped, but the aim to maintain land management in marginal areas would be kept. Meanwhile, the decision on the redefinition of the LFAs has been postponed (to 2010). Nevertheless the issue will keep a central role in policy discussions of the future Rural Development Programmes.

Suggested Citation

  • Dax, Thomas, 2005. "The redefinition of Europe's Less Favoured Areas," MPRA Paper 711, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:711

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Wei, Shang-Jin, 1993. "Emerging Currency Blocs," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers 233209, University of California-Berkeley, Department of Economics.
    2. Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Regionalism and the world trading system," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 295-301.
    3. Wonnacott, Ronald J, 1996. "Free-Trade Agreements: For Better or Worse?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 62-66, May.
    4. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    5. Andrew K. Rose, 2004. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 98-114, March.
    6. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1985. "The Gravity Equation in International Trade: Some Microeconomic Foundations and Empirical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 474-481, August.
    7. Jong-Wha Lee & Innwon Park, 2005. "Free Trade Areas in East Asia: Discriminatory or Non-discriminatory?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 21-48, January.
    8. Panagariya, A., 1997. "Preferential trading and the myth of natural trading partners," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 471-489, December.
    9. Aitken, Norman D, 1973. "The Effect of the EEC and EFTA on European Trade: A Temporal Cross-Section Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(5), pages 881-892, December.
    10. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1997. "Regional Trading Blocs in the World Economic System," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 72.
    11. Shang-Jin Wei & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1998. "Open Regionalism in a World of Continental Trade Blocs," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(3), pages 440-453, September.
    12. Frankel, Jeffrey & Stein, Ernesto & Wei, Shang-jin, 1995. "Trading blocs and the Americas: The natural, the unnatural, and the super-natural," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-95, June.
    13. Baldwin, Richard E. & Venables, Anthony J., 1995. "Regional economic integration," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1597-1644 Elsevier.
    14. Feenstra, Robert C, 2002. "Border Effects and the Gravity Equation: Consistent Methods for Estimation," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 491-506, December.
    15. Tubagus Feridhanusetyawan, 2005. "Preferential Trade Agreements in the Asia-Pacific Region," IMF Working Papers 05/149, International Monetary Fund.
    16. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Shang-Jin Wei, 1998. "Regionalization of World Trade and Currencies: Economics and Politics," NBER Chapters,in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 189-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Jong-Wha Lee & Innwon Park & Kwanho Shin, 2008. "Proliferating Regional Trade Arrangements: Why and Whither?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(12), pages 1525-1557, December.
    18. Anne O. Krueger, 1999. "Are Preferential Trading Arrangements Trade-Liberalizing or Protectionist?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 105-124, Fall.
    19. Simon J. Evenett & Wolfgang Keller, 2002. "On Theories Explaining the Success of the Gravity Equation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 281-316, April.
    20. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2004. "Economic determinants of free trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 29-63, October.
    21. Bhagwati, Jagdish & Greenaway, David & Panagariya, Arvind, 1998. "Trading Preferentially: Theory and Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(449), pages 1128-1148, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Philippe Pointereau & Sylvain Doublet & Frédéric Coulo & Marion Houtin & Maxime Moncamp & Paolo Prosperi & Jean Michel Terres, 2010. "Case Study - France, Sustainable Agriculture and Soil Conservation (SoCo Project)," JRC Working Papers JRC55636, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    2. František Střeleček & Radek Zdeněk & Jana Lososová, 2010. "Vývoj zaměstnanosti v znevýhodněných oblastech v letech 2002-2006
      [Development of Employment in Less Favoured Areas in 2002-2006]
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2010(6), pages 761-773.

    More about this item


    Less-Favoured Areas; Common Agricultural Policy; rural development; mountain areas;

    JEL classification:

    • R52 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Land Use and Other Regulations
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:711. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.