Centre for Rural Economy


Structural Change in Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods (SCARLED)

The new EU Member States had already experienced substantial socio-economic restructuring prior to their accession to the EU.

Nevertheless, several of the new Member States still stood significantly below the EU15 average in most structural and socio-economic indicators. The adoption of the aquis communautaire and the introduction of community convergence policies were aimed at reducing these disparities and contributing to the European Employment and the Lisbon Strategy for Competitiveness.

The objectives of this project were:

  1. to analyse the restructuring of the agricultural sector and rural socio-economic transformation more widely in the New Member States, with a particular focus on five countries; 

  2. to analyse the patterns behind rural ‘success stories’ in the EU15 during previous enlargements to identify and codify best practices and draw recommendations for the New Member States.

Methodologically, the first objective was addressed by comparative multi-country farm surveys, which was then econometrically analysed with a specific focus on themes that were of most relevance for agricultural and rural livelihoods (farm structure evolution, subsistence farming, co-operation among farmers, rural labour markets, income diversification and pluriactivity). This was complemented by an analysis of structural changes in the farm sectors of two selected regions with the agent-based simulation model AgriPoliS, taking special account of demographic changes. The second objective was based on semi-structured expert interviews among relevant stakeholders in selected regions of five established Member States. Further information on this project is available at www.scarled.eu