Rural development in the European Union has to face several challenges. Negative effects of old and new challenges (if these challenges are not faced effectively) might enhance and accelerate those processes that are taking place slowly for the present but that are definitely irreversible. On the basis of sector-specific approach problems related to agriculture should be focused on. It has to be, however, highlighted that there is an ongoing paradigm change: there is a shift from the agricultural policy aiming at food self sufficiency and income parity towards a sustainable rural policy with spatial focus. The shift itself is considered a continuous challenge, too. The following questions as objectives of the paper arise: - Are there policy instruments that could accelerate the paradigm change, enhance the spread of ―new rural economies‖? - What is the relation between the priorities of the rural development in the European Union and the spatial (or territorial) approach? - Is there a way to create such an agricultural policy which itself is able to face more effectively the new rural challenges? - At which level should be found the solutions to problems including finding the necessary financial resources – national or Community level? In what way could be reallocated the necessary resources of an integrated rural policy? The paper intends to analyze and systematize the challenges facing the rural economy/rural development both from the point of view of sectoral and territorial approach. It is aimed at analyzing and assessing adequate policy instruments and justified financial tools which could strengthen the integrated rural policy. The authors apply the theory of new rural paradigm, new rural economy, the concept of multifunctional agriculture, European added value and common rural policy.