Governments across Europe, encouraged by the European Union, are moving from an agriculture policy, defined in sectoral terms, to a rural policy, with a spatial focus. Rural policy is a transversal policy, linking a number of sectoral concerns and interests. This makes it an interesting study, both of changing policy networks under devolution in the UK, and of the extent of policy distinctiveness in Scotland. Rural and agriculture policy are devolved in Scotland but ate also highly Europeanized. Devolution has led to a change in political and administrative structures and in policy communities, which are now more distinct and self-contained in Scotland. Scotland has gone its own way on several important issues, but Europe is a force for convergence of policy within the UK. Rural policy is still dominated by agriculture, and Scottish policy emphasizes maintaining the small farmers. There is, however, some evidence of a broadening of the agenda.
- rural policy