M. VUJICIC1, L. RISTIC2 and M. VUJICIC1
1 State University of Novi Pazar, Department of Economics, Novi Pazar 36300, Republic of Serbia
2 University of Kragujevac, Faculty of Economics, Kragujevac 34000, Republic of Serbia
VUJICIC, M., L. RISTIC and M. VUJICIC, 2012. European integration and rural development policy of the Republic of Serbia and West Balkan countries. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 18: 519-530
The European Union has an active rural development policy, since rural areas have substantial growth potential and play a vital social role. Rural areas in the 27 member states of the EU cover 91% of the territory, and include 56% of the population. The Republic of Serbia is predominantly a rural country - rural areas account for approximately 85% of the country’s territory and their population make up 55% of the total population. Taking into account the European orientation, the strategic directions of rural development in Serbia are aimed at supporting economic and social development of rural areas, according to their specificities. Also, the Western Balkan countries, as the candidates and potential candidates for the EU membership, have based their rural development policy on the principles, objectives and priorities that exist in the EU. This paper presents a general socio-economic situation in rural areas, as well as rural development policies of the Republic of Serbia and all West Balkan countries in the period from 2007 to 2013 in relation to the EU rural development policies.