The Rural Economy Department (SER) operates under the authority of the member of the Government whose remit includes the Department of Agriculture and Viticulture.
The SER was created in 1964 by the Law of 21 December 1964 setting up a Rural Economy Department.
Its current activities are defined by the Law of 25 February 1980 on the organisation of the Rural Economy Department, as amended.
The tasks of the SER include, in particular:
- producing objective and useful information concerning the economic and social situation of agriculture and viticulture as a whole and the various different categories of agricultural and wine-growing holdings in particular; carrying out, to that end, any investigations and statistical and economic analyses that may be necessary and, in particular, building up and running a network of individual economic accounting operations with regard to agriculture;
- advising farmers on how best to manage and orient their holdings;
- promoting cooperation and mutual assistance between agricultural holdings, as well as their adaptation to changing economic, social and environmental conditions;
- drawing up the annual report on the economic and social situation of agriculture and viticulture;
- studying, observing and monitoring the agricultural markets and thereby arriving at an informed view of the prospects for the future, in order to, in particular, align production with demand and provide guidance and advice on profitable sales opportunities;
- studying the economic situation of industries engaged in the processing of agricultural and wine-growing products and researching possible ways of promoting the development of those industries;
- participating in the development of the common agricultural policy at the EU level and in its application and implementation at the national level;
- carrying out any other special studies and investigations which it may be charged to undertake concerning the economic and social situation of agriculture and viticulture.
The SER was established in 1964, during the early years of the common agricultural policy (CAP), with the aim of bringing together under one roof the (in part already existing) small-scale departments of the Ministry of Agriculture and taking on new tasks aimed at making Luxembourg's agricultural sector, and its farmers, economically fit for purpose within the framework of the newly emerging Europe and helping to represent the interests of Luxembourg's agriculture at the European level.
The setting-up of the SER was urgently needed in 1964, on account of the increasingly complicated and complex tasks with which the Ministry of Agriculture was being called upon to deal. What was required was to get the agriculture department working with the maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
Prior to 1964, the Ministry of Agriculture had set up departments and services on a sporadic and/or temporary basis (for example: the Department for Economic Studies, the Department for Agricultural Markets, the Department for Agricultural Accounting, etc.), staffed by officials on secondment from other administrative bodies or by employees recruited on a temporary basis.
Given the lack of satisfactory coordination and the inadequate facilities of those departments, and in view of the European integration that was taking place, the Ministry of Agriculture was constrained to equip itself with the necessary framework for its work in that area.
The SER was set up primarily with a view to the more efficient production of objective information regarding the economic and social situation in the agriculture and viticulture sectors. At that time, with far-reaching transformations of the economic structures in Luxembourg’s agriculture and viticulture sectors making themselves felt, the elaboration of those basic data was a matter of the very greatest importance.
The SER's mission also extended to market problems. What was required was not only to supervise the implementation of the market organisation measures for the future but also to draw the necessary inferences with regard to trends and to study each of the different agricultural production operations by reference to its marketing potential.
The SER was additionally given the task of representing the interests of Luxembourg's agriculture sector in the various international organisations and, with the help of the studies at hand, participating in the best possible way in the discussions taking place within those international bodies. The SER also enabled the Ministry of Agriculture to respond better to requests for statistical or economic information (received principally from international organisations, and in particular from the European Union).
Since the SER was founded, there has been little change in the scope of its tasks, but the extent of its work in a number of different areas has increased.
Thus, for example, over the course of the years the departments dealing with agricultural markets have had to undergo a complete reorganisation in order to adapt their mode of operation to the common market organisations
The Department is composed of adirectorate and 3 divisions.
General coordination, legal issues, staffing and budgetary matters, technical equipment, etc.
Direct Payments Division
Participation in the development of the CAP in the area of direct aid, management of direct aid (basic payments, compensatory allowances, premiums for landscape maintenance and natural spaces) and management of aid conditionality, relations with other administrative bodies within the framework of the management and control of aid applications, management of the register of holdings, and non-contentious administrative procedures.
Agricultural Management, Accounting and Support Division
Preparing the accounts of various agricultural and viticultural holdings; giving economic advice in management matters; participating in the drawing-up and implementation of the agrarian legislation; representation in various official bodies and working groups.
Agricultural Statistics, Agricultural Markets and External Relations Division
Drawing up statistics relating to agricultural production, economic accounts in respect of agriculture, etc.;
Management and control of agricultural markets (cereals, oilseed and protein (COP) crops, milk and dairy products, livestock and meat derived from animals);
Participation in the development of the CAP in the area of agricultural markets.