Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - I welcome this report, and the comments of the rapporteur, on the importance of ensuring a healthy rural economy. Successful agriculture and forestry industries in Scotland are essential contributors to the viability of our many rural communities. The geography of Scotland means that many of our rural areas are Less Favoured Areas which require specific support measures. EU support can play an important part in assisting rural businesses to meet the many competitive challenges which they face. I hope that the future budget of the EU will provide adequately for rural development programmes, and that the UK and Scottish Governments will enable the full potential benefits to be realised.

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