With structural adjustment and integration of agriculture into the rural economy the concern for the development of rural areas in general has risen considerably over the last decades. Rural policy is no more primarily about agriculture but has to address specifically all different economic sectors and actors in the area. With fundamental changes in the market structures and relations, programmes targeted at specific rural areas cannot neglect the emerging interrelations to other areas. Hence a rural policy has to address directly its insertion into the regional framework and its relation to regional policy. In recent years concern about social exclusion processes has reached also rural areas. Rising unemployment and the limited opportunities for young people have turned the attention of policy analysis to this social group. This chapter focuses on the assessment of rural development policies in the EU as they affect young people.
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